This piece I found very interesting and something out of the norm. The play on the word Exposed here was very fitting for this e-lit work. Seeing how exposed the prisoners were during the time of the pandemic, as well as exposing the actual prison system and the actions they may not have taken to keep the prisoners safe at that time.

During the pandemic the world was placed on a hold. Everyone tried their best to stay to indoors and avoid contact with others to keep themselves and they loved ones safe. I never once took into consideration what might have happened to those who were in prison during this time, and how they had to survive within such confined spaces with constant contact with individuals. Even the guards who had to work within the prisons who had no choice but to be so closely involved and still had to return home at the end of their shifts and hopefully not get the other members of their families sick in any way.

Even though prisons are filled with people who have done wrong, a human life is a human life and should be respected as such. Overlooking the criminal part, healthcare should be given to all human beings in times of need, especially during a pandemic with an illness that could cause death. To read that prisoners were denied medicine, doctor visits, and medical treatment in general was very hard to understand in the United States of America, which a very well developed first world country. Reading they were unable to disinfect their living quarters and were subjected to being housed with sick inmates seemed unreasonable with a prison system that makes so much money off of those who are incarcerated.

I noticed most of these inmates whose messages were used throughout this piece were from state prisons and institutions, which I feel should have been well off if the government money is what would fund what the prisoners needed to be safe. I don’t know if this was done on purpose by the author, to expose the state facilities as apposed to private owed prisons, but either way this shed a light on something that we may not think about, but the story has to be told.

El Relato

Given that I was away over the past weekend, I didn’t get to sit with my mom and translate Bastardo, with her at all, so I had to do things the easier way with translate. I still tried to read what I could in Spanish, like the first page after the title. I think it was really interesting how Núñez pointed out how many chapters there are, the number of combinations to the story, and how much of the world’s population it would take to explore every single possibility at least once if every person had a different adventure through the piece. Maybe it’s to set the vast number of possibilities, but it could also be for the opposite– the limits to the choices we as readers are able to make. There may be no other reason to including these details than to explain how the piece works.

Mi Nombre Fue…

The second page had so many names on it. I know fue is past tense, translating to was, and used in the first or third person (in this case, first), so I didn’t need the translated page for this one. Considering this piece is described by the author in the previous page as hyperliterature, I expected to be able to click different names and start going in different directions, but this wasn’t the case. That said, the sound effect of the typewriter that automatically repeats once you click the play button did almost create an illusion of typing things out myself in a way.

What was also strange is that Henry Morton Stanley and the given name Henry were repeated a lot. A coincidence? Deliberate choice? One way to find out, I guess.


The third page gives the option to print, which would be nice to use if I had a printer at the moment. Unfortunately for me, I do not.

I also noticed that the sections were in different order on the original and the translated page. What was nice is that each section was still the same, so as long as I could find the matching section, I could easily find the translation. That said, why is each section numbered rather than given a title for the characters they are about?


I was quite interested in the page on the piece’s functioning, particularly because of the first sentence:

En Bastardo, la finalidad es combinar fragmentos de forma exponencial para que cada lector decida, en colaboración con las herramientas digitales, cuál es su relato óptimo.

The translation was rough for me before looking at the page, but I could tell it’s about the power the reader has in the story he/she creates from Nuñéz’s creation. That said, my attention then turned to the end of the sentence— cuál es su relato óptimo— because I’ve been in a season of learning to relinquish that control of my own ideal reality or focusing so much on what I want. Like I mentioned briefly in my last post, my grandma recently passed away. Did I want that to happen? No. Did I feel ready to let her go? No, but truthfully I don’t think any amount of time could have prepared me for that. But God. I’ve seen His hand in bringing together people in my family that don’t necessarily get along. He’s brought back prodigals in the family and we were all able to welcome back these people with open arms in celebration of my grandmother’s life. I’ve been able to reflect on the example my grandma set for me as a woman and a child of God, especially with how I observed her running her business, Holland Mountain Farms, which closed about ten years ago before her dementia started to set in. I thought about how her business was her boat, and how Jesus was not only in her boat, but preaching from it through her too. (That analogy will make more sense in scrolling through my recent Instagram post).

My point is, this “relato óptimo” isn’t always the best one. It seems like it on the surface at times, sure, but is it purposeful? Is it challenging? Is it what we want, or is it something we may not have even realized we needed? Where does your plan lead you? Where could it lead you that you might not have considered? There are so many questions when we as human beings try to take more control than we are able– we are limited in knowledge, wisdom, strength, and abilities with undoubtedly imperfect wills that inevitably lead us in the wrong direction at some point in our lives. That’s why I believe what I do, among other reasons. I don’t want that control, as it’s done nothing but feed my anxieties and it’s led me down several dead ends in life. I’ve come to understand that God’s will is always good, even if it doesn’t feel or seem like it to us in the moment. I don’t want my “relato óptimo” anymore, and while it’s still nice to imagine it sometimes, I don’t.

The other part of this page that struck me (though this one I needed the translation for) was the Funcionamiento Literario talking about a “search for identity based on a historical figure.” In a way, that’s kind of how the Bible has been working for thousands of years now (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Our identity and purpose is found not in our imperfections, not in our past, not in the physical makeup of our bodies, but in the redemptive work of Jesus. And I guess that’s where this would differ, as Nuñéz explores the several identities of Henry Morton Stanley who is undoubtedly just a simple human being like the rest of us.

Back to Iteraciones


My first thought was of Jeremiah 17:7-8 with los ríos mentioned. Water is necessary for life, and I think it’s important how this passage mentioned “That time he didn’t listen to the water” and how it ended in wasted or lost time and this going astray from the water source left John feeling orphaned and alone. No longer does John want to be known as John the orphan, even if just to himself (at least that’s how it comes across).

I’m no orphan, but I’ve been and felt so alone that I almost considered myself to be one. I’ve had that supposed need to make a new name or identity for myself and not once did that work. Even if it seemed to, it was slowly eating away at who I actually am– as a survivor, as a human being, as a daughter, as a granddaughter, as a writer, as an artist, and most importantly as a child if the Most High King. He stood at the door and patiently knocked, even when I refused to hear the river of life in His voice that was on the other side of the door. I gave myself so many identities and labels I couldn’t keep up. So I don’t think John needs the new name, the one he has is just really difficult to accept and live with sometimes. I get that. It’s nice to have that control for a moment, but just because you can change something at the surface, doesn’t mean it will change at the core. We all need water. Anything living needs water. That won’t change no matter what control we have on anything.


And now I start to wonder what John did. Did he make himself an orphan? From what it sounds like, maybe it was self defense.

I also wonder how this passage could be part of some relato óptimo. Beatings? Scarce food? Fragments on the ground that (I would assume) are that of a glass bottle of some sort? How does this seem ideal? Nuñéz wants readers to make an ideal reality out of this. It just sounds like the reality of this world– this broken, broken world.


“Is war hard?” What kind of a question is that?

I’d have replied rather tersely too, to say the least. And that applies to all wars: international wars, civil wars, internal wars, verbal wars… any of it can be really, really hard, regardless of whether you’re fighting or witnessing it. And Henry covered some wars– reported on them– and witnessed them before going to Africa, as Nuñéz mentioned Henry had done.

I understand wanting the answers to a question, but sometimes there are things best left unsaid or not discussed. Sometimes there are things that need to sit for a while before they are discussed. Some things need time to process, and it’s sometimes hard to know when to respect that, and when to push that conversation into the light.


For this week’s ELit piece I choose to do Exposed by Sharon Daniel and Erik Loyer. Going off the title alone, I did not know what to expect. After reading the about page, it hit a little close to home. I’ve had a “cousin” (my mom‘s best friend’s son) who has been in and out of prison for the last 20 years. This person and I were very close as children, but I have not seen or spoken to him in 15 years due to his life choices. He also happened to be one of the incarcerated released early due to COVID-19 spreading throughout the facility. 

I thought this piece conveyed how stressful and anxiety inducing life was for those incarcerated during the pandemic. It stated that prisons suffered from lack of social distancing, proper cleaning, hand sanitizing and a shortage of food and medication.  The treatment of afflicted prisoners was far worse. It breaks my heart that these humans were forced into solitary confinement as known as the “hole” which is considered psychological torture. General population also suffered greatly during the pandemic with restricted phone privileges and suspended visits. This piece truly exposes how big of a humanitarian crisis COVID-19 was and how it pandemic impacted some of the most vulnerable people in our society. 

I think Sharon Daniels puts into perspective how terrible and unjust our prison system is. And I whole heartly agree.  I also agree with Daniels when she stated that there needs to be a massive and permanent reduction in prison population. There needs to be an education over and more mental health services provided to low-income areas throughout the country.


EXPOSED was the perfect title for this piece. I believe that we all have some type of idea as to how things operate in prison but we are never exactly sure what goes on in prison from day to day. There are some people that believe those who are incarcerated shouldn’t receive great health care or anything great for that matter.

Navigating through this was pretty chilling. Experiencing the global pandemic in the outside world was extremely difficult, but to know how people in prison experienced it is mind-blowing. To read that there were prisoners that requested medical attention and was basically denied was very hurtful to read and now know. This was a major eye-opener to what really happens in prison, especially during COVID-19. This piece surely educated us and hopefully touched people to the point of wanted to do something to make a change.

Bastardo and EXPOSED

I started my reading this week with David Núñez’s Bastardo. It is described as a digital fiction and electronic novel that combines fragments of a novel to create 10×149 different texts, “optimized in 4 billion stories coherent with narrative structures.” I am not very good at math, so I wasn’t thinking all too deeply about just how many possible combinations there really were…until I opened up the work and hit Google Chrome’s “translate” button to read the explanation page, where I was informed that “if every person were to read a version of Bastardo, it would take 60% of the current world population to explore the entire search space of this dynamic system of hyperliterature.” 60% of the current population of the entire world. I know enough about the world to know that there are a HUGE amount of people on this planet, so yeah, this really put the sheer size of Bastardo into context for me. I realized that I was about to start reading a story permutation that was, among our class members at the very least, among all the past and current readers of Bastardo very possibly, unique to me.

I read through the entirety of the story that was generated for me. I read about John Rowlands, who had many other names, who ended his life as Sir Henry Morton Stanley. John was born a bastard in Wales, to a mother who didn’t, it seems, love him. He was raised by an abusive grandfather, then lived in an orphanage for a time before he escaped. He wound up in America, first in New Orleans, and fought for the Confederate army, then for the Union. At some point, he went to Africa, where he became a cruel explorer. He was eventually knighted for his expeditions in Africa. He married and had a son, and died of cancer in his sleep. This is the gist of the story I got, though there were many other details, too many for me to relate.

I found the storytelling extremely fascinating. Different passages took place at different points in John’s life. It was confusing, yes, the way it jumped abruptly from one point to another, but it was still remarkably coherent for a story whose overall structure was determined by a computer. There were a few passages that repeated, and I’m not sure if that was intentional on Núñez’s part or a flaw in the code, but really, I’m impressed by the story. One thing that I’m confused about, though, is the opening. It started with a girl named Sara, doing research on what “bastard” meant, apparently also a bastard herself. I’m not sure where she is supposed to connect with the rest of the story that I read. After finishing the story, I saw in the text that followed that Sir Henry Morton Stanley was a real historical figure, and that this piece is a “search for identity” based on that man’s life. Perhaps Sara is the character searching for identity?

I really enjoyed this piece and would love to hear what stories everyone else experienced.

EXPOSED is a non-fiction piece by Sharon Daniel and Erik Loyer that serves as a database and interactive timeline chronicling the spread of COVID-19 across U.S prisons, jails, and detention centers. The “About” statement on the work website states that “EXPOSED reveals the overwhelming scope and scale of this humanitarian crisis. The monochrome, image-less, headline-styled interface, which allows viewers to step through thousands of prisoners’ statements, is designed to visualize their collective suffering, and signal that the injustices they endure are structural.” Furthermore, the statement on the website builds a connection between the term quarantine, one we’ve become so familiar with over the pandemic, and the prison system, stating “…prison yards, once reserved for those that society may have had a legitimate reason to fear, have filled to over 100% capacity with people that society finds annoying, fails to educate, and refuses to help. The disproportionately poor, Black, or Brown ‘offender’ is treated as a pathogen to be isolated and contained. Having nothing to do with justice or public safety, the quarantine of ‘undesirable others’ is the means and the end.” This, and the other information shown when the website is launched, serves as the background to the piece. A “what we can do tab” provides instructions for contacting governors in order to work towards a massive reduction in prison populations, as well as other measures that readers can take to work towards reforming the law enforcement and prison systems.

EXPOSED was painful and eye-opening. The stories it contained were horrific, and it really makes one question how America can claim to be such a great country when its incarcerated people continue to be treated like this into the 21st century, left, helpless, to die of a pandemic that the rest of the country is being urged to fight with masking and social distancing. The piece serves as a great example of how e-lit can share harsh realities and push for social and systemic changes. EXPOSED not only educates, it also gives the reader the opportunity and resources to act.

Bastardo / Exposed

Two differing pieces this week. I started off with Bastardo and, from its title, I kind of expected something with humor like “Everything is Going To Be OK”. I was wrong but, like most e-lit pieces we’ve explored, the freedom to choose your journey continues. I was instantly intrigued by the typewriter clicks that introduced to the piece. Something about the inescapable rhythm of it worked really well with the list of random names presented to us. I don’t know, but my eyes felt like they were reading lyrics to a rap. Then, things took a complete turn when I noticed it was heavily based on history?

The confusion was frustrating, truly. I thought about the purpose of mixing so many contradictory chapters about Henry Morton Stanley and why the author would do it. The only message I could come up with is the illegitimacy of history itself. I mean, we’ve all been in a history class reading about the same people. But, no one ever questions the factual element of it. How do we know these things happened and why is it important to note who did them? It reminds me of a game of telephone, where the message is mistranslated because people will say what they want to hear. No one knows if this man even existed, yet we credit his ghost with all of these historic accomplishments.

It’s clever of the author to use Henry Morton Stanley’s “legacy” because it’s already seen as a made up story. He just chose to jumble it up and expose the contrasting versions of his life that don’t add up, which lead me to that frustrating confusion.

Speaking about exposing, “Exposed” was such an eye-opener. I’m sure most of us are aware, to some extent, about the gruesome U.S. prison system. But, during COVID, we were so engrossed in our own lives and losses, it was easy to forget about those who had an extra (devious) hand playing with their lives and losses.

Listening to these real-life stories and concerns, I can feel their desperation for change and their loss of hope for it at times. Some tell of people taking their lives because of this hopelessness and some tell us about people who almost had a chance at life, but lost it because of that extra hand toying with their time. Time waits for no one and prison officials are aware of that. They make it abundantly clear. But, because they have that control and power over prisoners, they’ll dangle freedom in front of their faces and snatch it just at the right moment. “Exposed” shows us how COVID-19 & neglect of medical attention instilled absolute fear in these people who are fighting time everyday in hopes of seeing the world again.


As a public record of the pandemic’s effects on prisoners, EXPOSED exposes the all-too-familiar cruelty of a system built not on justice but rather on control and absence — on quarantine. There are more than 100 statements from inmates who have the virus or who are going through a lot of stress, anxiety, and difficulty on July 8, 2020, alone. Families complain about not having access to information, such as chatting to an inmate one day and then being called in by prison officials to identify a body the next.

It is so sad to see people die under poor management in prison, which reminds me of when the pandemic outbroke in China. A Chinese lawyer who requested anonymity told the BBC that since the outbreak of the epidemic, most prisons have implemented a 14-day working system for police officers, during which they are not allowed to go out. If a police officer has been infected outside, it will infect other colleagues who are also working in closed work and the prisoners under their management during this period.

“There may be underreporting, but it is limited to prisons and local governments.” Hubei Provincial Health Commission said, who believes that once the relevant departments obtain data from one prison, it may be necessary to review the situation in all prisons. Therefore, this timing, while it may seem political, is more a result of the data collection and reporting process.

Since late January 2020, many places in China have implemented a community isolation mechanism. Most people returning to their places of residence from other places are required to register and isolate themselves at home for 14 days, hoping to prevent the virus from spreading locally. Hubei Provincial Health Commission pointed out that the prison outbreak shows that these places have “systematic loopholes” in self-isolation procedures, personnel tracking, and virus detection.

Unfortunately even today people in China are not allowed to travel otherwise they will isolate themselves at home for 14 days…


Created in the context of the physical and social isolation caused by the 2020 global pandemic, Dial expresses the tenuous lifeline offered through text messaging and instant messaging, according to the editorial statement. Dialogue is generative, shifting through emojis and brief phrases conveying the weather, seasons and the passage of time, the two voices fusing into a monologue. This work is a deeper reflection on the malleable time experienced during the blockade, when minutes felt like days and months passed without discernible memories to separate them.

I found similarities between this work and the interactive mechanics of peaceful dream that I had previously reviewed – capturing text and image changes through the eye. The rapidly changing background colors and the text in the dialogue bubbles show the passage of time. Most importantly this work reminds me of how people lived during the height of the pandemic. I was reminded that I spent my entire freshman semester at home during the beginning of the pandemic. I spent 90% of my day on my phone and computer during the initial lockdown. My message dialog was just as this work shows – rapidly changing and sometimes confusing. The sense of time also seemed to change during the pandemic. The difference between day and night seemed to be the same except for the presence or absence of the sun – the streets were always dead. I started reversing the days and nights to escape the abnormal days, because the nights seemed to go by faster. Those were the days when I found the least meaning of life. I was grateful that people worked hard to make the blockade permanent and not come back.


How many times have we said see you later and it was the last? It is not normal for every week to have a favorite piece, but it is. C-Ya-Laterrrr is a magnificent piece that proves that it doesn’t take much to achieve something good. I started reading and I didn’t really know what it was about, but it’s written in such a way that it manages to connect the reader, makes the reader worry, gives anxiety, and transmits despair. It also generates the need to know more, therefore, in each option, he gave to investigate more in the situation where he gave and read and read. I didn’t believe this had happened in real life and I think the author does a good job of capturing a possible family point of view of the tragedy. In addition, I think it is also a piece to think and rethink our actions, many times we are in a hurry, stressed and so on, which makes us leave aside our loved ones, limiting ourselves to saying hello or a see you later cold and far, but we do not know if that is going to be the last, the last word, the last communication. So, it is also a call to stop and tell the people we love «here I am and I will be», «here I am and I will prove it to you», and «here I am and I want you to know it».