Since childhood she had been able to do this. She could look at a word and – if she was very focused, and sometimes this took a very long time – she could actually imagine her way inside it and explore it like a landscape. Names became little patches of land, and she could blow them up and shrink herself down and trip across the little patches and flowerings of meaning that grew along their avenues and in their gutters.
Meaning, in this namescape, was herbal: it grew like plantlife, and like plantlife it needed similarly to be nourished and nurtured, watered, fertilized, its soil turned. Signification faded if not tended to, or might breed out of control if fed too much. Sometimes in her travels, she came upon only a single blossom in what was otherwise a sea of virtual concrete. Or else meanings grew like weeds that she buried herself in, lingering while a stem snuck up her nose or into her shoes, covering her eyes with little puffs of downy seeds.
Some weeks ago, she had decided to keep a little diary of her travels, thinking that maybe she might publish it as a kind of travelogue, or at least use it as the basis for a blog. She began with her trip through Seeing, returning to it whenever she could to wander in its forested curves, ramble through its thickets. At some point well into her travels, Seeing got dangerous. Beasts roamed there – this was a new experience for her – and she began to worry, each time she returned, that she may not find her way back out again. As she came back each time with more scratches, missing tufts of hair that had been clawed out, her friends warned her to stay away, urged her not to go back to Seeing – but she was hooked and her notes weren’t complete and she couldn’t stay away. She never told any of us what she found in those wilds. She became obsessed, and she bled for her travels. And one day, she didn’t come back. We haven’t seen her since.