All posts by Giselle Guevara

Upgrade Soul/Hana Feels

I started with Hana Feels, which felt similar to a a job training session, but it felt more personal because of the content. Also, we had a glance into Hana’s journal and that added a whole other layer to it all. The first thing that came to mind when I finished the piece was all about consequences. Mostly, it reminded me how a seemingly good intentioned statement may be perceived the complete opposite way by the other person. It’s a lot of responsibility when your in Will’s shoes because anything you say can have a tragic ending. All of his statements are very neutral for the most part which makes it difficult to decipher what the “right answer” is. I guess that’s also why this piece had a little more pressure involved. Most of the previous E-Lit pieces we’ve touched upon have been about our own reading journey and there hasn’t really been too much a right or wrong answer when navigating, besides Everything is Going To Be OK, which is interesting considering the similarity in content.

Speaking of consequences, Upgrade Soul had to do more with being humna and…. not. We are introduced to an old couple seeking to outlive life through untested scientific procedures. Of course, it doesn’t go right for them. What interested me was the fact that they volunteered themselves as guinea pigs simply because they had the money to do it. They weren’t worried about that aspect, but they were more concerned with the idea that they’d be known for being the first to endure the experiment. Without thinking about their physical selves, they gave their bodies to science in exchange for social praise. It reminds me of the whole idea of throwing untrained billionaires up to space because they can, and they want to show that they can because of their social standing.

As for my E-Lit project, frustrations are at their peak honestly. Not with the workload, or the writing aspect, but the creation of it. There are so many ideas and so little time, I have to be okay with not being able to accomplish exactly what I have in mind. I have decided to use Canva since it’s familiar and allows me to attach links to photos. The biggest question is the theme my photos will share and what specific message I want to tell my audience. I have been thinking about nostalgia as a theme because it is what brought me to these photos. Then again, looking through these photos has allowed me to reflect on myself and my growth. I think the latter might be a better shared theme since it’s a bit more narrow. The navigation of it all is still shaky. But, I think it’s close to clicking together… I just have to see it slowly coming together on the screen.

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.


Ouch. This is the first time I’ve teared up to an e-lit piece. It was way too close to home and poured a little salt on a fresh wound to be honest. When I read it was about the Manchester bombing, I anticipated more of a focus on the news and press side of things. The beginning being so invested in the screen and electronics in general confirmed that notion, I thought. Until, I started to feel myself in the character’s shoes as I read.

I think it was when the character began to wonder what would has changed if he stood awake. I can relate. Even though, realistically, I know nothing would have changed. But, what if?

Then, the slow, gradual description of that period of “?????” before the assumptions are confirmed. Although, there were no assumptions besides a few noises I heard below my bedroom on Saturday night. It was completely out of the blue when I was notified that there was more happening downstairs that night then I could’ve imagined. The next Sunday afternoon I was watching Jackass with my boyfriend and best friend at her house laughing our asses off. Quite the shift in mood when those missed calls and text messages hit your phone screen and you’re driving home in silent tears.

But, it’s the modern way, which I guess is what this piece emphasizes. In this case, the news of a lost loved one is placed on every screen possible and kind of adds a new layer of surrealness to the act of losing them. We go online to escape and lose some brain cells sometimes, but what happens when our personal reality and the fictitious world of characters & celebrities intertwine and how do you cope with it?

As I navigated through this piece, I noticed I mostly avoided the phone or any electronic. Obviously, it’s inevitable that we communicate through these means in this day and age. Even through hard times like this story. I feel like I actively chose not to engage in screens throughout the piece because I wanted to separate the character’s reality and the strangers on the screen. I couldn’t imagine what that mix would do to my grieving process. Also, I’m imagining the character reading through news stories, tweets, IG posts, etc. that would just group the 22 people and their individual personalities into one post or story and how angry that would make me. It’s hard to place myself in that position.

The nonchalant title and the heavy themes explored are contrastive and I think that’s probably what threw me off to start. I truly didn’t know what to expect from the pairing of “c ya laterrrr” & “Manchester bombing”. Now, I do. It’s easily become my favorite e-lit piece, as much as it hurt to read.

a kiss

In “a kiss,” the first thing I noticed was the way the hyperlinks were titled. Whenever I discuss poetry with anyone, it always comes to the question, “What does that mean?” and people hate the answer “whatever you believe it means”. I think that’s what turns people away from poetry in general. The piece has a hyperlink titled, “is this poetry?” and the answer has to do with what I’m talking about. It discussed the indecisiveness of poetry and how that indecisiveness is uncomfortable for people. It mentions how everything in life is very indefinite and, as a result, uncomfortable. If everything was direct and clear, it would lead to quite a boring life. I completely agree with this statement. As writers and artists, we always talk about the importance in stepping out of our comfort zone. This is exactly what we mean. In order to grow and change, we have to try to learn something new, no matter how uncomfortable that may be.

It’s interesting that this topic is brought up in the middle of a piece titled, a kiss. It follows a blossoming love of some sort and I think that feeling of being unsure and uncomfortable can easily be found in this situation. Falling in love IS the same as trying something new. That lack of certainty, stepping into new territory, and even insecurities, all resonate with the example of the artist or writer I provided above.

Going back to the point about what poems mean, the hyperlinks are inviting to those who might stray away from poetry because they answer the questions a reader is likely to ask when reading the provided text. I liked how the hyperlinks broke up the images of the poem provided and kind of answered what they mean. I say kind of because it’s never concrete. It’s more like giving context to the image. I think that by giving context to these images the author provides some clarity but, just enough clarity. It doesn’t make the image or poem concrete and set in stone. It still allows and invites interpretation, which is a hard middle ground to find. All in all, the author did so successfully.

Peaceful Dream

Peaceful indeed. The transitions in this piece make it feel like I’m literally waking from a dream because they’re so smooth. The images are also just as soothing as I’d expect them to e, with the exception of the middle images. However, I think it was mainly the audio that was paired with those images (of what seemed to be a man on a horse?) that gave it a bit of an edge somehow. The use of audio resembled a movie soundtrack in that sense. The author used it to intensify certain images and, because I don’t know Mandarin, I heavily relied on that. I immediately recognized the shift in sound because most of the piece is filled with meditative music. If you’ve ever tried meditation, you would know that the shift in sound is used to take you out of the meditative state & bring you back to yourself. I found it interesting and it made me hyperfixate on that certain image.

As for the imagery, there were obviously very calming images of greenery, water, and just nature in general. There were also very experimental images that looked like static, but may have been there to allow the viewer/reader to create something in their own minds.

This piece was a bit different from the rest we’d done because it felt less interactive and I’m sure that is intentional. The static images are really the most interaction we encounter and the interaction is less collaborative between the viewer/reader and the piece itself. Like I said, I’m sure it’s more intentional because it is called “Peaceful Dream,” and the lack of interaction keeps the peacefulness. I’m thinking of “Everything is Going to Be OK” as a contrast to this piece because of the overstimulation we saw and experienced in it. It’s exciting to see two opposite sides of interaction and collaboration within E-Lit, and how it influences the piece as whole.

Forgotten Memories & Letters to X

Both of these pieces brought me back to my childhood somehow. Letters to X was a like a modern mad lib and Forgotten Memories reminded me of the many summers I spent camping with family staring up at the stars, which anyone can really relate to. I think both of these are very inviting and relatable.

Letters to X is made to fit your story in whatever way you please. It made me nostalgic to make something reminiscent of a mad lib. But, it was such a different experience as an adult. As a kid, comedy was the goal in most of the mad libs we tried. Here, these are realistic topics and I feel like that influenced word choices I made. It’s almost like a prompt too.

It’s strange how we are given so much freedom to customize the story with our word choices, but we are also given the option to see the work written out by someone else. This kind of made the story feel like it already existed in someone else’s life, we are just putting the pieces together. Still, it was an interesting piece.

The visuals of Forgotten Nights were intentionally simplistic and, honestly, my first impression wasn’t the best because of it. Once I read that it was an auditory poem, it made more sense. The walkthrough of this piece was pretty easy to follow and I enjoyed the author’s use of audio once I started to pick up on some of the themes of memory. As I was trying to pick up those themes, I had to laugh because of how fast I forgot what some of the lines were as they were speaking them. It worked perfectly.

I found the clicking of the stars intriguing because it felt so random, but the outcome worked almost every time for me. I’ll admit sometimes the lines lost me when I heard them repeat it too many times, it took me out a bit. Either way, the customization of the poems allowed me to take something new from it every time. It amazes me that even as the lines change, they feel united as a poem no matter what.

Everything is Going to be OK

Woah. My eyes burn a bit. I feel like this is what people describe as a bad psychedelic trip. There is so much going on it’s hard to digest at the start. Also, I started out with the artist statement, which was really well put together and made extremely valid points about power vs. strength. There is absolutely power in strength. No matter what way one might show it. I’m also grateful that the author acknowledged the “game” label because it could easily be misunderstood, or disrespectful to the issues discussed.

Anyway, starting out with that beautifully written opening piece, I did not expect the Zine to be that chaotic. However, once I navigated through a few pages, I noticed that it was just the aesthetics that were chaotic. The actual content of the piece was intriguing, thought-provoking, and extremely comforting. A very interesting contrast, and realistic. Having intrusive thoughts feels just as overwhelming as the aesthetics in this zine but, just as the title and the written content of the work reminds us, everything is going to be OK.

A lot of the themes discussed emphasize the need to fight to exist and persistence. I’ve included a screenshot of an example of that below. I think this ties in with the artist statement about strength and how it can simply be defined by the act of living, or holding your ground through all the obstacles (ex. erasure, oppression, & extermination).

I think the fact that the piece is a celebration of “simply being here,” is what makes it such a motivating and comforting piece. We’ve all been through our own obstacles, no matter what they are, & it feels nice to be recognized for persisting through them and to be told “Everything is Going to Be OK”.

Huck Muck a Muck

This week’s reading was interesting in the same way “Twelve Blue” was, but there were immense differences between my experiences. Still, going into this reading it felt just as blind and I still felt that sense of disorientation. It made me think, Do all of E-lit works utilize this disorientation of the format itself to add another layer to their works? My guess is yes. I mean we haven’t studied any linear narratives, so that may change. Whether or not they do this, these authors have a way of keeping it fresh & utilizing it in ways we would’ve never expected.

Going into Huck Muck a Muck, I immediately noted that there was a common theme of displacement, which is why I opened this post with the idea of disorientation. Maybe the author was trying to mimic the feeling of displacement that immigrants often feel on their journeys to new countries.

Like I said previously, these authors have their ways of keeping their work intriguing. Huck Muck a Muck offers multiple perspectives on the non-linear concept of immigration, which is refreshing. They reiterate the idea of lottery & gamble when talking about the journey, but they never explain what journey. It’s implied that they mean the journey through the e-lit work, but also the journey taken when we click on something and put ourselves in the speaker’s place.

I must say, I did enjoy this walk though more than “Twelve Blue” and I think it just has to do with the fact that this was poetry. Poetry invites and even encourages the unknown, unspoken, and uncertainty. So, I wasn’t going around in circles trying to connect characters to other characters. I wasn’t expecting a linear narrative to show itself at the end of my browsing. Huck Muck a Muck’s poetic focus allowed me to enjoy the bits & pieces handed to me, rather than worry about the outcome.

Twelve Blue

The article “Navigating Electronic Literature” discusses the navigation of electronic literature and how it is the signification of the work itself. I had a general sense about what they were talking about, but once I started “Twelve Blue” I understood better.

I chose “6” to begin and immediately fell in love with the author’s writing style, I thought it was romantic & experimental. Now, thinking back to those thoughts, I’m wondering if their writing style is experimental or is it the format (E-lit) in which it’s presented that makes it appear that way?

As we were told, this was a non-linear plot which did disorient me at times. There were also times when things began to click and I feel like it excited me more than it would in a print text. The disorientation of the plot made every thing so unexpected.

At first, I was frustrated. I wanted to love this piece so bad because I genuinely loved the writing, but the disorientation threw me off and annoyed me quite frankly. As I started connecting characters to each other and it felt more like a story, it subdued and I started to get sucked in.

Something from the essay came to mind as I was feeling my frustrations.
The idea of “relearning & reconstructing” the act of reading sounded all fun & great, until it reminded of all of the frustrations that come with that. The urge I had to just start from the beginning and “pick a new story” was definitely present. Thinking back, I can see how that’s also a positive aspect of e-lit. You don’t have to give up entirely on a piece of work because you have options.

As for the narrative itself, I think the hypertext form suits it well because it seems to intentionally create a dream-like state or something liminal. The chunks of text seemed to mimic a stream of consciousness. The narrative I followed had to do with a deaf boy who drowned in a creek and the writer seems to focus on that in-between life & death state by describing beautifully in depth what sounds & slight visions surrounded him. They also visit a woman’s life that had also been taken by the sea & how her mother also passed by drowning. There is a strong sense of nostalgia for something unknown. The woman waiting for her mother to return, even though she didn’t know her. The girlfriend of the drowning boy nostalgic for that blossoming romance cut short. What I couldn’t connect too easily were the doctors. I can see how they are both longing for new love after loss, but not much else. Although, I’m sure if I went farther into the narrative I would pick up more.

All in all, I would rate this first time experience a 7/10. I enjoy discovering and exploring anything new, but this was something entirely unknown. Either way, I did find myself wanting more and that’s always a good sign!