It is a flash poem and a collaborative work between Ingrid Ankerson an Megan Sapnar. It is about a teenager’s favorite time “cruising” in a small town in Wisconsin looking for love. Ingrid Ankerson is a graphic designer and a full-time faculty in the Digital media Arts Department of Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Megan Sapnar is an assistant professor in Communication Studies at the University of Michigan. They both live in Michigan with their two kids.
There is a lot of interaction between the reader and the text on the screen. The reader controls the speed of the pictures with the mouse. You can go up and down to change the size of the screen and right or left for the direction of the cars. It is like a driving a car and the reader is at the wheel. The viewer can zoom the picture in and out to match the text and the pictures. The only thing that is fixed is the speed at which the narrator reads the poem. There is a relation between the text and the images. The music in the background is suiting, The sound of a guitar while the narrator reads the poem makes the experience of driving a car exciting. My experience of “cruising” as a young adult was amazing, with my windows down, music blasting on the sound of ” Un-Break My Heart” by Tony Braxton.
My idea of cruising nowadays is driving slowly through the streets, admiring the neighborhood, the beautiful architecture, checking on the new houses and sometimes go to a scenic ride to see the cherry blossom, but not looking for love. I think that can be exciting, I imagine the writer fixing her hair in the mirror, putting on lipstick. Some of the simple things that girls do in the car to improve their look. Personally, I always have my lipstick and a comb in my bag and apply my makeup up in the car. It is all fun, “a girl gotta look good”. All said aside, what is cruising? “Cruising“, according to the Cambridge English Dictionary can have different meaning. a) travel at a constant speed. b) travel for pleasure on a large ship, but cruising can have a different definition. According to wikipedia.org, the term “cruising”, in the United States, was predominantly used to denote exclusively homosexual behavior. The term is used when technology is used to find casual sex such as using internet site or telephone service. One can only speculate on the intention of the writer about the title. Are the characters, two teenagers who are just looking for love or is it something more to it? This is just a simple highlight on other meanings of the word that some people may not know.
Driving in a car can be a wonderful experience or maybe not. I find it most of the time suiting when I am driving alone. I like to listen to soft music, classic music, and gospel music. Sometimes, I might listen to the latest songs. It is usually what I feel for at that moment, what my mood is. Driving is not exciting when I am stuck in traffics.
Some critics said that the software used by the writers is outdated, and that is is difficult to navigate through the poem. It was personally difficult to control the speed of the pictures, to zoom the words in and out, but I never said I was a good driver. the poem was short but the reader could go on over and over.
I wonder what cruising was like in the time of Ankerson and Sapnar. The poem was published in 2001, the pictures are outdated, mostly in black and white and the cars are outdated as well. Cruising in a small town of Wisconsin is probably something that teenagers did at that time, looking for love. On her site at CultureNet @CapilanoU, Megan Sapnar said that the poem is more than a flash poem or anything that the readers describes it. The poem was created with the concept to blur categories. It is more complex then we think. The poem was originally a love poem with an open-ended conclusion where a teenager was driving with someone she loves, but they wanted more interaction between the reader and the text, and they added the activity of driving in which; words and theme become connected. One of the recurrent theme of the poem is struggle and it is something that I did not realize until I read the Writer’s blog. The theme is embedded in the poem. The author describes the struggle to navigate through the text. She compares it to the struggle of adolescence, the struggle of learning to drive, learning to read, learning to control the speed on the poem, the size of the text. Struggles, the stuff that life is made of. The struggle for some people to survive, the struggle for others to succeed or perhaps my struggle in this digital world, to get this presentation ready. We all struggle in life.
In the end, the poem is just not about cruising, but about the struggle we face in our everyday life, how we get behind the wheel and control the speed of thinks. It is about how we take charge. By creating this “reactive/non linear/time-based/spoken word/interactive/new media poem” Ankerson and Sapnar put the readers at the wheel and therefore allow them to add their own spin or meaning to the poem. Personally, this poem that I chose randomly represents my journey to Elitclass.