Hey everyone, I have been working on a new Twine story. It is a non-linear hypertext storytelling platform that has been allowing me to explore a work in a way I never thought would be possible. Click here to take a look as I build the story. Keep in mind that this is a work in progress, so things may change if you visit the story more than once over the next few days.
I want to say that this work, though cinematic, does not have that feel to me. I do not want to call it a novel either. It feels like avant-garde creative non-fiction, if there is even such a thing (also, I know that this classification may represent an overly academic need to categorize accurately the things that I read or consume). What is literary about this to me is the linking of words, or symbols, to broader expositions, showing that a symbol encapsulates a great deal, meaning that no one word is really just one word but is really a connection of a great number of ideas symbolized together in the image of the word on the page. I think that mixing of mediums in this work did a fantastic job of trying to point a person toward the idea that a word is not just a word and as you explore the ideas inside one word, you are lead to explore more and more words and thus to keep exploring an infinite number of ideas. Though the words, symbols, and ideas in this work are not technically infinite, they give the sense that they may be. Because this work explores ideas like this, I feel that it is literary, at least within the confines of what I have grown to think of the idea of literature.
OK. Now I need to go let me head cool down, and marvel at the fact that I just witnessed a work that links Carmen Miranda and Hitler with only a couple clicks of the mouse between them.
I am EXTREMELY (yes, I just used caps, bold, italic, underline, comic sans, and purple on an adverb to express my excitement…English majors and designers, please avert your eyes) excited about giving Twine a try. First off, Anna Anthropy should write all how-to’s ever. I loved her introduction to Twine and I felt like it opened my eyes to some potential features and ideas to experiment with using this great tool, and also let me feel like I could hit the ground running without worrying about the technical stuff too much.
I have had time to read a couple examples that Anna Anthropy points us toward at the end of her article. I adore You Will Select a Decision, published by Brendan Patrick Hennessy. I only had time to play with №1 – Small Child In Woods, and I managed to kill the poor child within 4 steps of the story, but the narrative is fantastic, and the history of it being banned by the CIA due to fears involving a communist plot to control the minds of American children is great as well.
I can not stress how excited I am to use this software for this class, and I will try and post a quick test before our Google Hangout tomorrow evening. Do any of you have ideas that you want to try in the Twine format yet?
Oh! I love A Party in Woodside by Judy Malloy. A friend of mine and myself spent some time trying to create “choose your own adventure” stories in QBASIC when I was in junior high and as underclassmen in high school. My friends and I all spent a great deal of time online playing text based adventure games, which share some similarities to these stories as well. I really enjoy what Judy Malloy has done here. I love the parallel narratives that are taking place. I followed Jenny and Uncle Roger through the story. It was interesting how clicking on one and then back to the other would result in you either making leaps forward or back in time in relation to the other. The whole experience really gave a temporal and connected feel to the experience and I am afraid I am hooked. I am also planning on going to my father’s house this week to see if I can find any of the old 5.25” discs that we saved our adventure books to. If I can, I will try and compile them and share them here on the blog.
I also enjoyed And the Robot Horse You Rode In On by Anna Anthropy as well. I think that this is a great example of an evolution beyond the concept of Malloy’s work, though I feel as though there is a strength in the search terms listed at the bottom of the work in Malloy’s piece. I like that I can double back and see the event from the perspective of another character and then, using the back navigation button on my browser, go back to the original character’s point of view in a more understandable fashion. That said, the “new Wild West” environment and characters in Anthropy’s story are fascinating and I will be revisiting this piece in the future.
I have to say that reading and seeing different concrete poems was very eye opening for me this week. Without a doubt, I feel as though I learned the most from Dan Waber’s Strings. I really liked Letter Man by Adam Lisckiewicz, but I could not stop watching the strings. The final flash element, poidog, was fantastic. I feel as though the earlier segments of the work did a good job of preparing me to really watch and understand when Adam showed us that words are strings that he pulls from his mouth. After watching this, and getting to watch the shape of the words as well as the words themselves, I feel like I have been introduced to a great new tool for writing/creating. Moving, animated words, and the meaning making that can happen in this space feels so very freeing. I decided that I would attempt to make a concrete poem of my own. Below, I am including a conversion of an older piece I wrote for one of Jay’s classes. I realized that allowing the words to take on the shape of the poem could lend a different sort of imagery and path for meaning making for the reader. While this is not as dynamic as the works that we saw this week, I feel like the reshaping of the piece has made quite a bit of a difference. I hope you enjoy it.