First and foremost, I’d like to thank Dr. Zamora for telling us to read Pressman’s essay before starting “Twelve Blue”.
Pressman’s essay does a great job of explaining how electronic literature works. The most important and helpful piece of advice I retained from the essay is the importance of navigation. Navigation plays a major role in electronic literature. How the reader navigates the text not only determines the sequence of the text but also the reader’s interpretation of the text. This means that two people can read the same text and get two completely different takeaways from it. The author creates every conceivable path for the reader to navigate through. However, which path is chosen is ultimately left up to the reader.
An interesting point Pressman discusses is the difficulty many educators encounter when assigning electronic literature. The difficulty comes in when students all have different opinions of the text or find the navigation of the text to be confusing (me). However, Pressman finds the bright side to the student’s difficulty by stating that their frustrations “…can be turned into fruitful, self-reflective discussions about the role of media on the ways in which information is produced, disseminated, archived, and taught”. Reading this essay allowed me to better prepare for reading and navigating “Twelve Blue”.
Although Pressman’s essay was insightful, I was still left stumped by “Twelve Blue”. I found myself reading the same paragraph over and over trying to get a grasp of what the author was trying to say. At first, I navigated the text as some sort of avant-garde poetry because of the lack of stanzas. As I began to navigate the first selection of texts, I wondered if the author wants readers to look for similarities between the various texts. After analyzing four of the first selections, the only similarities I found were the mention of the color blue and women.
I kept reading for the rest of the hour but in the end l I was left with more questions than answers. My biggest question was “what exactly is the author trying to convey?” I even went back to the author’s description of the text and found myself becoming even more confused and frustrated. One thing I noticed was that the more I kept reading and navigating the site, the more Pressman’s explanation of electronic literature made sense. How the reader navigates the site ultimately determines how they interpret the literature. I navigated the text under the impression that the stories were not supposed to be linear but rather independent of one another but still connected.
Overall, electronic literature seems to be something very much outside of my comfort zone. I feel very intimidated about this class now. I am used to print-based literature that follows a linear format. Electronic literature is completely different. It is dynamic and left completely open to interpretation. I can’t wait to discuss this in class (mostly to see if my classmates were as confused as me).