The Unknown: The Orange Line.
  Date: Wed, 09 Dec 1998 15:03:30 -0600
From: William Gillespie
Organization: Spineless Books
To: The Unknown List
Subject: Rettberg’s Holiday Greetings to Unknown Staff

December 8, 1998

Dear Colleagues:

Certain seasons and certain traditions help renew our spirits and drinks and remind us of those enduring values that shape our lives and our dealings with each other. This is one of those seasons for Marla and me, and we pause from the busy pace of the past 7 months to wish you a joyful holiday and a Happy New Year.

I have mentioned before that this particular time of year is, for us, focused on family, good friends and gratitude. And for those of us fortunate enough to be on drugs, the holidays evoke special joys. Of course, “Happiness is different things to different people,” a popular song once observed, and whatever it might be for you, may it enrich your life during the holidays and beyond.

Family. Good friends. Gratitude. Literature. Drugs. These aren’t pat concepts to be invoked once a year. They are, in important ways, realities that pervade not only the holiday season but also our lives in the Unknown.

I believe, for example, that a sense of gratitude is appropriate as we review our collective achievements since the hypertext began. The Unknown’s reputation — thanks to so many colleagues’often magnificent efforts — is being steadily enhanced. Prominent reviewers and top university faculty have read our hypertext, important pages have been launched, and new breakthroughs have been made in navigation and audio.

Each of us can share a measure of satisfaction at having helped in some way to advance the goals of this special enterprise to which we have dedicated ourselves.

Will the new year produce further successes? I believe so. The Unknown is poised to reach new heights. For example, my vision of the new year includes an emphasis on understanding and using emerging technologies to expand access to grant money, enhance performance in our hypertext, and extend the pharmaceutical capabilities that have helped make The Unknown such a gas and so envied around the world.

This task is not likely to be easy; few things of value are. This is, however, a task about which I expect to say more in the year that is nearly upon us. The Unknown is, of course, about more than drugs alone. I am reminded of that as I browse our hypertext on crisp, clear nights, under bright stars. The Unknown is a precious place where intelligent women and men inquire without political or formal restraint into whatever subject ignites their curiosity. It is a place where daring minds challenge ignorance. It is a place where lives are transformed. It is those things, and it is more. The Unknown is, as Ibsen said of marriage, “something you must give your whole mind to.”

For all of that I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude.

Much like the season itself, the Unknown is about hope and inspiration and exceptional people. The latter include many good friends—Brian, Frank, Katie—and make up a collegial family that I recognize as special. It is a family that serves society responsibly by advancing knowledge about everything from those stars overhead to the grass along the sidewalk in front of my apartment.

The holiday season will come and then pass. The Unknown will thrive, but will change. The significance of both will continue undiminished, however, and the meanings of both are actually invitations to us to broaden the dimensions of our lives and to increase our service to others.

So Marla and I extend to you our heartfelt best wishes for happy holidays and for joy and fulfillment in the year to come at the Unknown.


Scott Rettberg
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