All posts by teetheesblog

Final Project

Not Love, But a Checklist explores the concept of marriage in the Indian Culture. Indian women need to tick a lot of boxes on the marriage checklist to qualify for everlasting love. Love being last on the list, if it even made it on there. It tells of instances where women are deemed unsuitable for marriage in a culture fraught with caste, class, colorism, and sexism issues. Not Love, But a Checklist invites Indian readers to confront our cultural biases while inviting non-Indians to understand our culture better. The interactive narrative can be read and appreciated by all. 

Here is my project: https://www.inklewriter.com/stories/35050

I am over the moon about this project. I know I’m turning my project in, but I feel like I’m just getting started. I have so much to say, so many ideas, only a time restraint. I have to say I was hesitant when beginning this project, but now I might even pursue this for my thesis project. Though I had fun with inklewriter, I want to take a coding class because I can totally see it transform into one of the many electronic lit pieces we’ve explored this semester.

Electronic Literature Project Update

Last week I was super anxious about the project, and when I’m nervous, I tend to shut down. I ended up skipping my blog because I wasn’t able to come up with a solid idea. I am super grateful that Dr. Zamora said we could make up a blog; I was feeling super guilty.

This week I’m feeling much better! At first, I was overwhelmed with the many platforms available when creating an electronic literature piece until I found Inkle Writer. It’s an easy platform to use, and I think it works well with my project. I. originally planned to use google slides because I’m already a pro at using it, but I’m glad I challenged myself to learn something new. I’m still figuring out the logistics; slowly but surely, I will execute and deliver (feeling more confident this week).

To touch upon my story, I’m still in the process; I was able to come up with a solid storyline, which I’m very happy about; well, not much more to say until next week, folks!

The Hunt for the Gay Planet

The Hunt for the Gay Planet was created in 2013 by Anna Anthropy. Gays and lesbians had a civil right to marry in only six states before 2013 when it became legal to marry in 16 states. Anthropy took a prominent and continuing issue of the gay and lesbian rights movement and created a fantastic piece.  

Like almost every electronic literature piece we have encountered, the background is pitch-black. However, this time, talking about the LGBTQ community, I was expecting a more colorful experience like the symbolic flag. This, however, by no means, means that I was dissatisfied with the piece. The quirky undertone of the work made up for the bleak background. Also, it became apparent that the black background was appropriate because the reader is on an adventure in space, going through a text venture to find the gay planet of Lesbionica. 

As we began our journey with the piece, there is a three-paragraph introduction; here is the last of the three:

“Well, enough! You’ve heard rumors of a secret paradise planet where people like you can be people like you, a glittering world where women walk arm-in-arm with women, where you can feel the heat of a lady’s reciprocating gaze without having to feel the burn of a thousand judgemental stares on your skin.”

This section spoke to me; it took me to my very introduction of this blog, where I mention that same-sex-marriage finally became legal in 2013 in merely 16 states. We have 50 states in the USA, and our gay brothers and sisters still had to look for a place to live happily, where they would be accepted without any judgment. As we continue the piece, we are initially looking at four planets:

  1. A small, dusty-looking planet.
  2. A strange-looking purple world.
  3. What seems more like a large asteroid than a planet.
  4.  A planet spinning on its side in the void.

I looked through the small dusty planet, underneath a rock, I even dug a hole and nothing. I proceeded to the second purple world; there was a cave, to the left, there was a dead-end, and another one to the right. I went straight and tumbled down an incline to a large space. I had so many choices: Go north, Try south, Slip east, Head west. I found nothing; I was once again at a dead end and had no idea where to go next, there were no other options, so I tried each direction afresh. This time there was something on the south side, a carving of a man and women holding hands, that’s definitely not it I. return to my ship to the third planet, the large asteroid. Finally, I find someone who knows where Lesbionica is, and I set off; I have arrived. 

I see naked women, a woman who takes my hand and says welcome home. I felt at ease until the story took a turn; she says you’ll be the right fit for the queen she needs new slutdancers, EXCUSE ME! I decided to run, but they captured me and took me to the queen anyway. I finally figured our main character was Trudie, but I was having too much fun pretending to be Trudie. 

This was twisted; Trudie went to find a place where she could be herself, only to be imprisoned again. This text’s undertone was fun and pretty accurate, with the constant reminder that Trudie and people like her are not accepted in our world and face so much criticism for being different. From the carving of the man and women holding hands on one planet to the scene where someone asks if she has a boyfriend to the gay bar, no one wanted to be her friend. And lastly, saving the world from a lesbian queen who sold her soul for weapons. Anthropy portrayed such a beautiful message through her interactive text game, and I’m here for it! 

Red Riding Hood

Electronic Literature never fails to fascinate me; the lengths of its reach is unmeasurable. Every week, with each reading, I learn a new way of utilizing electronic literature. This week is by far my favorite, though I think I say that every week. However, this week was different. I was taken back to my childhood, to one of the most popular stories of all time, the one my mom read to me infinite times, the story of Little Red Riding Hood, but this time with a twist!

Donna Leishman brings a modern twist to our beloved traditional tale, and I’m here for it! Upon entering, let me quickly say the background is once again black (it’s just not my blog if I don’t mention the background color). Then a red box appears, with a couple of options on the left side from a launch button, portfolio, enquiring minds, thesis, and lastly, a research tab. Each of these little sections contains information from Leishman herself. After skimming through each section, I finally began my journey by clicking on the evident object we were meant to click on, the book.

A woman appears, and I couldn’t tell who that was supposed to be, perhaps our narrator. Then a sentence surfaces, stating “once upon, not so far away,” and immediately, we are taken to a view of multiple buildings. One of the buildings has a glowing orange square calling our names, and as we click on the glistening object, we enter Red’s home, where her mother, whose face we couldn’t see, was handing her a basket. From here, I was at a dead end. I desperately clicked on every object in the room, hoping something would happen, and then finally, the painting of the trees in the background took me on a stroll with Red. We see her running through a forest, then the wolf is following her, and finally, she’s found plucking flowers that were in the shape of the letter X, perhaps foreshadowing the danger that is up ahead. As she picks flowers, she suddenly falls asleep, and for once, the reader has a choice, to either let her dream or wake her up.

I went through the story multiple times, and each time the dream sequence was different and quite unusual. She’s at a meat market in the first dream, where she changed into a rebellious black outfit, and then the alarm goes off. There is a strange boy in the second dream, images of old-school radios falling like rain in the backdrop, and then an angel appears; Red seems to be crying, but the angel does nothing to help, and then the alarm goes off once again. I correlated these images to a rebellious and strong girl but also a little helpless under the circumstances.

I went back one more time, and this time, while Red is running through the fields before falling asleep, I came across her diary. The diary was telling; she had an image of the wolf boy with hearts all over it. The following pages confessed her love for the wolf boy. So then she wasn’t helpless then? She knew the boy was a wolf; this screams unconventional love!

I finally chose to wake Red up, and the story continues to progress. We follow the wolf boy into Red’s grandmother’s house. When Red arrives, she finds that the wolf boy has already eaten her grandmother. Then the screen turns black, and we find Red lying on her grandmother’s bed and is pregnant with a wolf child. MIND-BOGGLING. She took the sinister route and got into bed with the big bad wolf! This story reminded me of Stephanie Meyer’s novel Twilight, where Bella falls in love with a vampire and, knowing the circumstance, still pursues her darkest desires.

Reconstructing Mayakovsky

From my previous blogs:

  • From Troupes and Bots: “I noticed the pitch-black background; it made me think of Shariff Ezzat’s Electronic Lit piece, “Like Stars in the Clear Night Sky.” 
  • From Ask Me For The Moon: “There appeared a black screen again.”
  • From Pieces of Herself: “As you click start, there appears a pitch-black background.”
  • From With Those We Love Alive: “Starts with the iconic black background.”

And for today’s piece, I once again discovered our symbolic black background; I might be slightly obsessed with the color palette when it comes to Electronic Literature. Upon entering the work, on the top left, big, white, all caps and bolded was the title of the piece “Reconstructing Mayakovsky.” Right next to the title, it said “a Novel of the Future,” so immediately, I had to search when this piece was written. I’ll be honest; I usually skim through the homepage because I am so excited to explore the actual work. But upon reading the information provided on the homepage, I was intrigued. Illya Szilak wrote this piece in 2008, and her work was inspired by the late poet Vladimir Mayakovsky who committed suicide in 1930. 

Upon returning to the piece, the reader enters a sci-fi-ish place, and is watching space. We see stars, and interestingly enough, instead of planets floating around, which is what one expects when looking at space, there is a bunch of words floating around. There are seven words to be exact; words such as “Movies, Manifesto, Theatre, etc.” Ultimately, the words drive the creation of all the other elements, and the words bind the piece together. As I played with the space recreation, the words kept rotating. It was easy to navigate through the piece through the hyperlinks; the only hard part was deciding where I wanted to wander. I began my journey by clicking on “Movies” first, because I mean, who doesn’t like movies. Oh man, was I wrong! I wouldn’t watch this movie. It was sort of like a pitch to come live in this very dystopian world, called ONEWORLD, where everything is perfect, and we are free of all the bad things, such as natural disasters, terrorists, and diseases. It does sound like the ideal world, but I have read The Giver and watched the movie, so there’s definitely a catch, and I won’t take the chance, so pass…

Next, I ventured off into the realm of Audio Podcasts, and once again, the theme of floating objects continued. This time, it was numbers ranging from 1 to 46. Each number was accompanied by a sound, from glass breaking sounds coming from number 42, the piano playing on number 20, and the movie trailer we watched earlier playing for number 3. As you click each digit, an audio podcast plays, making you realize these numbers are actually chapters of a book. As I continued to explore the piece and tried so earnestly to understand it, I just kept getting tangled. I couldn’t quite catch this novel’s theme, but I recognized each sound correlated with what the chapter was portraying, which was rather impressive.

At this point, I was feeling overwhelmed. I still continued to explore because I wanted so badly to understand the piece as a whole. I decided my next step would be to experiment with Mechanisms B. I’m happy this was the piece I selected next; it went well with the audio podcasts. There were once again numbers (chapters) floating around, but this time with a title. Upon clicking the numbers instead of the podcast, the chapters were in written form. There were 11 sporadic chapters; I wondered why the author chose 11 chapters out of the 46 present. I wanted to read all of them, I wanted a coherent story like we have when. reading a novel, but there was just not enough time, so I will have to come back and explore this piece at my leisure.

I can’t wait for class tomorrow to fully understand this piece, because to say the least, I sadly did not grasp the concept the way I wished I did.

Inanimate Alice


Upon entering Inanimate Alice, a dark grey screen appears, with the option of two tabs:

  1. Chapter 4- Hometown 
  2. Chapter 4- Hometown, (teachers addition)

I was immediately intrigued, the teacher in me wanted to go through the teacher’s account, but the inquisitive person in me wanted to know why and how both versions were different. So I made the obvious choice and went through both!

I first went through the student version or what I made out to be the student version in my head. First and foremost, I love this piece of e-literature; this is something I see myself using in my classroom. It’s a digital novel; students can read, listen to music, look at visuals/moving images, and interact (click on arrows/words) to move through the text. The only difference I found between the student and teacher version was that the students couldn’t skip through the text; they have to engage before unlocking the next page. It was an excellent game like touch, which felt like playing Mario cart; you have to pass a level before moving to the next. 

Our protagonist is Alice, a 14-year-old girl; she is dared by her friends to climb to the top of a building with Moscow’s best view. The narrator instantly engages us with Alice’s vulnerability; she’s stuck on top, the ladder broke, how will she ever get down? We see images of the stairs, then the broken stairs, the old worn down building, the sidewalk where her friends were standing, and the top of the platform she was standing on. We see everything besides Alice and the other characters. Cleverly done, I like that the reader can imagine and create the characters in their heads using their imagination. That aspect and the first-person narrative voice are very engaging; it’s as if Alice is talking directly to us and inviting us into her world. 

Right after that scene, there’s a brilliant transition, as Alice is stuck on top of the old building, the next line says, “I’m too frightened to move.” The reader initially thinks she’s scared to move on the platform, but no, we find out she is leaving Moscow to move to a town in the middle of England. In the next scene, we are given a tour of her new city, from the school and house, and more intimately, her friends and project. 

The new home looked very raggedy, the kitchen was dirty, and the place was small, suggesting her parents weren’t very well off and had very little time to take care of small everyday duties such as washing the dishes. She then shows us her school, stating that she now goes to school, so the reader naturally assumes she didn’t attend before. The reader can also assume she didn’t participate before because her family was always moving; she says her friends are also from different places. Her project is fantastic; she is an animator, creating digital stories such as the one we are reading now. As the story comes to an end, we are taken back to the factory where she was stuck, and to help her get out, we have to play a maze-like game to help her escape. 

I love this piece, I know I said it before, but I would love to explore the other chapters. We started kind of in the middle. I’m curious to see the other interactive chapters (1, 2, 3) reveal about Alice. I mean, I am a Language Arts teacher, like my students, I am also captivated by young adult literature. I love seeing their faces when a novel excites them, and this is definitely a piece I could see my students enjoying as much as myself! It’s not just the page-turner story they would love, but the interactivity and the games all pieced together. Technology is a massive part of our society now, and I would love our curriculums to be updated and add electronic literature pieces accessible to our children.

With Those We Love Alive

“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!

Ask Me for the Moon

I immediately gravitated towards “Ask Me for the Moon,” by John David Zuern. Anything regarding the night sky enchants me and reminds me of this quote by Zara Ventris, “I am a child of the Moon being raised by the Sun in a world walked by stars and a sky drawn with flowers.”

As I begin my journey, there appeared a black screen again, now is this a pattern I am noticing about Electronic Literature, or do authors prefer a black background? To think about it, if I created my own E-LIT piece, I would undeniably use a black background. Black just gives the work a mysterious feeling, not knowing whether the piece will be dark, complex, simple, or rich.

White letters appear on the pitch-black screen, fading in and out, making it hard to read, because they disappear so quickly. Still, each word I read is beautiful, to say the least, “Waikiki by night, out to see the moon, this is what you see…” and then what you see is described “Of hope and work, castles in the sand, palaces of purchased love, troves of stolen sleep.” I love that, the short snippet that I did catch of the poem reminded me of my trip to Jamaica last summer, the beautiful beaches and resorts, where we go to enjoy, but it is not a vacation for the people who live and work there. I remember talking to one of the tour guides, and he said we don’t want out children going to school; we want them to find a job so one day they can work up to a job at a resort and or be a tour guide.

As the poem comes to an end, Waikiki’s skyline appears on the black screen. It isn’t colorful like one would have imagined, but black and grey, metaphorically portraying the loss of sleep and the hard-work the people endure. At the bottom of the skyling, a college of photos appear, three of which spell Waikiki, one has an image of a palm tree, and the last one shows a photograph of waves with a person standing before the waves. As you browse through each image, you can hear something along the lines of a person breathing heavily, or is it the sound of waves? I believe it was the sound of breath because the word breath was used plenty in the poems.

As you click each image, it takes you to a place with more photos. This is when the reader becomes independent, we get to choose our own path and navigate through the pictures and turquoise words. As I click, I see more white words appear, smaller poems that turn into larger pieces of text pieces. Zuern captures his essential ideas of his work in these more extensive texts; in one, I learned about the Hawaii culture and how the state maintains rights over the Hawaiian people and their culture. I also learned how the beaches we Americans so wholesomely enjoy are restricted to the Hawaiian locals. We discover the dark truth about workers’ lives behind Waikiki’s resorts through the poems and texts. We are constantly reminded about the hard work the locals do at night to maintain the resorts us tourists enjoy.

I love this piece; I was a little annoyed though, because I couldn’t go back to the poems; they moved so quickly, very swiftly, the words morphed into one another, one line I caught that I love, went something like this, “Will you shelter me the way I shelter you, Does the world belong to us as the moon does?”

TROPE AND BOTS

Woah. Electronic Lit keeps getting more mysterious; every time I begin a new piece, it’s like I’m uncovering a realm I never knew existed.

I was surprised by the piece. As I entered the room, I noticed the pitch-black background; it made me think of Shariff Ezzat’s Electronic Lit piece, “Like Stars in the Clear Night Sky,” however that piece was more magical with stars hovering over the black screen. Toupe; was different; I almost got an eerie feeling, like whatever the author was going to reveal next was going to be dark and severe. There, dead center, I saw an audio piece; it was eight minutes and forty-eight seconds. So rationally, I skimmed it, just to see what was next. And nothing…

Nothing was next. That was it, and I was worried I was doing something wrong. So I went back to the homepage and tried it again and once again, to my surprise, nothing! So this time, I stayed and listened to the audio. I begin to enjoy the experience of just listening. I started counting the poems to keep track; I heard two poems and then just a one-liner, “I’m not going to the dentist until the apocalypse comes.” What in the world did that mean? And then I heard, “When my gums began to bleed, and my teeth fall out,” not once, but twice. Once with a clear voice and the second time, it was muffled and whispered. At this point, I started to feel anticipation; I was awaiting an apocalypse. Then I finally heard what it would probably sound like if the world were ending, it felt like a movie scene when a character is dying, and then the director cues the sad, almost cryptic music to make the viewer feel some type of way. That’s precisely the sense I got; I could be wrong. And then, in the end, I got a hint that maybe someone survived? So freaking dystopian, I freaking enjoyed it, is that bad, even though it was a bit creepy.

Now on to BOTS! This was a cool concept, bots autogeneration content on to twitter on a set schedule. How futuristic! Both pieces seem very futuristic. I begin with “Tiny Star Feilds” because it resembled the black background in “Like Stars in the Clear Night Sky,” once again. It took me straight to the twitter feed, which consisted of clusters of stars. I was fascinated to see how many followers the page had, 125.1k, holy crap! Looking at the tweets was like looking at a smaller picture of what I would see out in the night-sky down by the mountains.

The second piece I stumbled upon was tiny crosswords; I found this was exciting. A bot generates a tiny three world puzzle every day around noon. This twitter account only had 165 followers, like what? I might just tweet them and promote them because this is a unique, intriguing concept and saves me money on sudoku books. But I am not even going to put up a front; the puzzels were super hard!

To come back to the concept of bots, I am, to say the least, fascinated. I follow Rupi Kaur and Rumi on Twitter, and now I am sure they also use bots to post autogenerated pieces, only 140 characters of their poems. How cool is that? I thought the authors were on the writing pieces of their poems every day, how silly was I!