“With Those We Love Alive” by Porpentine starts with the iconic black background; I’m just obsessed with the background color, the color you start with says a lot about your piece. There is nothing but a heart emoticon on the homepage, which is a bright fuchsia, I would say. Upon entering the work, it said, “Before living this life, have a pen or a sharpie nearby, something that can write on skin.” I took this metaphorically, assuming what I was about to encounter would conquer my heart, soul, mind, and body. I also found it very interesting that a page was dedicated to the colorblind community; that was a very thoughtful touch to this piece.
As I moved past the initial starting pages, there was a message, “nothing you do is wrong,” which was very assuring. Often with e-lit, I am worried I will do something incorrectly or mistaken what the text is trying to present. After that short passage, the screen turns a blue/purplish color, and the reader is asked to pick the month they were born in, leading us to our role in the story. I was an artificer; I made things in this empire; the empress allowed me to stay in her palace and explore.
The next line said, “something is rising from the lake”, and as you click the letters, bold and fuchsia, it answered the question, “From an inky black lake covered in the remains of dead brown leaves, the empress emerges. Her skin is larval, and it floats across the water like the carcass of a pale leviathan while her attendants stand at the edge, ready to pick the wet plant matter from her.” What strange, artistically written words that left me confused. The reader is then asked to wait; wait until you are needed because you are a mere artificer, and she is the empress who is getting her skull cleaned? WHAT TYPE OF GROSS MONSTER?
I became an active participant in this grotesque fantasy land, playing a text game. Wandering the palace and the city, wondering that kind of empress I was dealing with and when I would next hear or see her. As I visit the balcony, it felt like a nightmare, “death jungle chokes the land to the north” reminded me of the scene in Game of Thrones where if you looked out of the castle, all you saw was dead bodies. As I once again click on the bolded pink text that says the throne room, we get a visual of what the empress looks like, her majestic beetle horns and eyes burning with cold fire. The fun part about that was we can choose what she looks like since each sentence contains three words, which we can play around with, which was an excellent way of adding in some choice since I felt like I had none in this piece.
As you wait for something to happen, you take a nap; you meditate, timing the lengths of your breath, you look over a lake, and build things for the empress. I started enjoying my life in the palace, as I quickly became my character without noticing it. The story was simple, yet so complicated. Everything sounds enjoyable, but it isn’t. You think you’re at peace until you see a dead body looking at you from the lake until you are breathing her ashes while you meditate and until you wake up, and the empress summons you to do something. Why was I still here? Why was I working for this monster? Why was I worshipping her like everyone else? I guess it is because I am thrilled and intrigued by this very experience. In the end, I finally meet an old friend, and over me, loomed a long lost romance? However, I could totally be making that up in my own head.
This is one piece of e-lit I have explored in its full entirety. This piece was very suggestive, so I feel like my analysis will be very different from my classmates. To me, it was a horrible, complicated experience, yet a fascinating one. And I finally figured out what this piece really reminded me of, The Hunger Games! I kept referring to The Game of Thrones, but I was thinking about the best dystopian novel out there!