"Everything can be read, every surface and silence, every breath and every vacancy, every eddy and current, every body and its absence, every darkness every light, each cloud and knife, each finger and tree, every backwater, every crevice and hollow, each nostril, tendril and crescent, every whisper, every whimper, each laugh and every blue feather, each stone, each nipple, every thread every color, each woman and her lover, every man and his mother, every river, each of the twelve blue oceans and the moon, every forlorn link, every hope and every ending, each coincidence, the distant call of a loon, light through the high branches of blue pines, the sigh of rain, every estuary, each gesture at parting, every kiss, each wasp's wing, every foghorn and railway whistle, every shadow, every gasp, each glowing silver screen, every web, the smear of starlight, a fingertip, rose whorl, armpit, pearl, every delight and misgiving, every unadorned wish, every daughter, every death, each woven thing, each machine, every ever after." Michael Joyce, Twelve Blue
Coming into this course, I have to admit that I was very nervous and filled with anxiety of the fact that I had to study Electronic Literature (E-Lit). Pen to paper has always been my concrete way of learning. Reading literature through a screen was intimidating for me. Until I came to class and learned what Electronic Literature truly was. In my own words, E-Lit is the new way to combine creativity and reading into a form of animation with the use of technology. When I read through Kindle on my phone, I am simply reading a digital form of a book that was once a hardcover. With E-Lit, there is one keyword that drastically changes it and makes it unique compared to literature through a screen. That word is “navigating”.
Jessica Pressman’s article, “Navigating Electronic Literature” opened my eyes to realize what it means to embark on an Electronic Literature journey. She described navigation as, “an element of electronic literature that uniquely affects the ways in which we read and interact with digital textuality”. Having an interaction with the reader is fascinating. In relation to Twelve Blue by Michael Joyce, there were many options to click on giving me a variety of different stories. This was my first time reading E-Lit, so there was no surprise that I was quite confused and did not know what I was doing.
Pressman expressed her feelings about the struggle she saw her students go through when they first began to read Electronic Literature. “In my experience teaching electronic literature, student frustration with navigation and confusion about the reading experience 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” (Pressman). I was excited to read that I was not the first student who was confused about how to navigate E-Lit. However, I was proud of myself towards the end of my experience. While reading Twelve Blue, I spent about an hour and a half navigating and experimenting with the article. The reading of the stories became smoother for me. After realizing how interesting and, for a simpler way of putting it, how fun it can be, I have become obsessed! My goal moving forward with this class and even once the semester has ended, is to expose myself to this new culture of literature and to learn how to teach others about Electronic Literature as well.
Jessica Pressman: http://newhorizons.eliterature.org/essay.php@id=14.html
Michael Joyce: http://collection.eliterature.org/1/works/joyce__twelve_blue.html