Entering The World of E-Lit

If you're like me, then after the first class you thought the following about e-lit: 

 via GIPHY

If you didn't leave class feeling like that, then you probably felt like this: 


Point is, I'm sure you left the class feeling some kind of way. No matter how you felt after the initial breakdown of electronic literature hopefully this week's readings pulled everything together to make things make more sense. This week we had to read Navigating Electronic Literature by Jessica Pressman and Twelve Blue by Michael Joyce. 

In the Pressman piece, she talks about how e-lit is used. Something that stood out to me was when Pressman said, 

"...electronic literature does not consist of stable, inscribed marks on a print page; rather, it emerges as a processural performance across codes and circuitry within the computer and in response to interactions from the reader." The idea that the reading emerges from the computer screens into a new experience every time the reader interacts with it, takes reading literature to a whole new level. It is possible for you to have a deeper appreciation or a deeper understanding of a literary piece the more you read it. However, when you read a traditional text the experience never changes. How you engage with the text may reveal another meaning or make the purpose clearer but your experience with the text doesn't change. 

Another part of the reading that made me pause and reflect was when I came across David Bolter saying, "We could say that there is no story at all; there are only readings.” It made me wonder what the difference is between a story and reading. I think it could still be a story because the author put those words and scenarios there for the reader to discover. I believe that it's definitely a story because all of the different rabbit holes were created for a reader to experience. 

So I wanted to experience it myself so I clicked on the Michael Joyce piece to engage in the hypertext for myself. 

It is very obvious that this is not an e-lit piece created in the last decade. Nevertheless, I engaged in the text. I clicked on number 6 to start my story. And I was taken into a scenario where I met the viralologist, Javier and I was transported back to a time when folks wore beepers. But the main thing I noticed was that there was no hypertext for me to click. I was a little disappointed that my story was at its end. The colorful squiggly lines that are in the photo above were now placed in the margins to the left. I clicked on one of the lines and then I was taken to more text. And this part of the text included a hyperlink that took me to another part of the text that didn't include a hyperlink. 

Every time I came to a page without a hyperlink I was saddened that my story ended and it didn't take me anywhere else. I also, expected to see photos that could've been hyperlinked as well. I have to admit that the plain text and the blue background did make it hard for me the stay engaged in the story. Even though I thought it was interesting. I wonder if my low attention span had anything to do with the fact that technology in which created this e-lit piece is a bit dated. And if it were to be republished using some of the software we have available now, if I would feel differently. For the most part, I was engaged and excited to see where I would go next. But I think when I didn't actually go anywhere different or surprising the clicking of the hyperlinks started to bore me and I just wanted to a read a story straight through.