Category Archives: student blogs

First Experience with Electronic Literature!

Electronic Literature was something I had never heard of before taking this #Elit course. Now that I have started learning more about it, it is very interesting and new. You can never turn away from discovering something new and exciting.

However, my real experience began with the first reading assignment. We had to read it for an hour and I will say that it was a struggle in the beginning. The reading was Twelve Blue  by Micheal Joyce. From the beginning, the color blue was a huge part of the whole premise of the literature. Personally, it was a distraction because the color was a too bright for me to be able to read. I will not go into that too much since that was not the point of the assignment. But I will go through the experience of reading what I will call part one since the story is kind of split into parts and I will also relate my experience to the article.

The main point of the article was navigating electronic Literature. When reading Twelve Blue, the component that made it electronic literature was the hypertext. While navigating, there were a lot of hyperlinks there were placed in different positions which I believe were the intentions of the author. Some of the pages had one link while some had five links which all worked. I also noticed that each of these links had their own titles. They appeared on the tab when I clicked the linked which was pretty interesting. Another thing I noted was that, when I clicked one of the links, the tab remained the same. it did not open a different tab. I  believe that was also deliberate because if a new tab had open every time I clicked the hyperlink, it would have ruined my reading experience.

Blog 1

Despite the story Twelve Blue being a hard read for me, I understood some parts of the page and how to get around to other parts of the story. Unfortunately, I got confused as to where to go for part 9, so that took away from my experience and I became disengaged with the story quickly after.

At first, when reading the article, I overthought the concept of navigating through elit. I feel confident that I will identify stories that are easy to navigate through on a computer without losing the story. I have never read a book online, but I’m sure it would be a much easier read than if I read a hard copy.

On Navigating Electronic Literature

The more things change, the more they stay the same. That line can apply to countless types of situations, but in this case I’m applying in a rather personal sense. I’m talking of course, about my absolutely triumphant return to studying electronic literature.

Back in 2014, I decided to take Intro To E-Lit (not much of an intro anymore I suppose) during an absolutely stacked semester. I took 15 credits instead of 12, the insanity. Despite this, there was a certain respite that the class had provided that I couldn’t really put my finger on at the time; I entered each week with a sense of excitement, not dread. I now know however, the main reason behind this feeling.

A lot has happened since my first venture into E-Lit back in 2014, in technology, in literature, and even in myself as a person. And the very concept of electronic literature, the storytelling, the narrative, and the visuals, has sat on an interesting, almost neutral plane the entire time, not quite taking advantage of the new enhancements that technology has offered, but rather placing an emphasis on design and style to compose most E-Lit works Focusing on the role of navigation in electronic literature can lead to valuable discussions not only about individual works but also about electronic literature in general and its relationship to traditional literary studies, says Jessica Pressman on Navigating Electronic Literature. And with a quote like that, I think a good part of E-Lit can be framed into a mode of discussion, one with examples that can be learned from.

Take Michael Joyce and Twelve Blue, the E-Lit reading this week. If I had read it in the previous class then I had forgot my experience with it, and this has allowed me to explore it again with fresh eyes. It’s a labyrinth of exposition and dialogue, monologues and introspection. It could mean a whole lot as much as it means nothing, and it seems to favor the latter.

Twelve blue isn’t anything. Think of lilacs when they’re gone, the story urges me to do when I decide to seek advice on reading it. There are passing links within the text on the right as well, but these, once followed, go away. Never has advice been so cryptic as it was informative.

The difficulty of identifying the “text” in electronic literature is made even more apparent in interactive works that engage the reader as a character navigating through the narrative, Pressman wrote in her article, and I think Twelve Blue is a quick example of just how true that can be. If there’s a story here that I’m supposed to absorb, it’s lost on me. But for what I can take at face value, the text that is presented in the non-linear format, it’s quite engaging, with the links to the new page being a key line in the text, or the borderline nonsensical text at the end of one of the “routes” that encourage you to check out another one.

Twelve Blue may not have been as coherent as I remembered it, but it did remind me of the importance in the navigation of E-Lit, not everything is going to be straightforward and if it is, it’s closer to a proper e-book.

It also reminded me of just what I hope to get out of yet another semester of studying E-Lit; to better understand the composition of it and in doing so, bring a new appreciation of the collaboration of my two favorite forms of media together. I felt slightly rushed when I took this class back in 2014, but now I feel as if I can take my time with this, even if it’s just a little more than before. Being back feels good.

Entering The World of E-Lit

If you're like me, then after the first class you thought the following about e-lit: 

 via GIPHY

If you didn't leave class feeling like that, then you probably felt like this: 


Point is, I'm sure you left the class feeling some kind of way. No matter how you felt after the initial breakdown of electronic literature hopefully this week's readings pulled everything together to make things make more sense. This week we had to read Navigating Electronic Literature by Jessica Pressman and Twelve Blue by Michael Joyce. 

In the Pressman piece, she talks about how e-lit is used. Something that stood out to me was when Pressman said, 

"...electronic literature does not consist of stable, inscribed marks on a print page; rather, it emerges as a processural performance across codes and circuitry within the computer and in response to interactions from the reader." The idea that the reading emerges from the computer screens into a new experience every time the reader interacts with it, takes reading literature to a whole new level. It is possible for you to have a deeper appreciation or a deeper understanding of a literary piece the more you read it. However, when you read a traditional text the experience never changes. How you engage with the text may reveal another meaning or make the purpose clearer but your experience with the text doesn't change. 

Another part of the reading that made me pause and reflect was when I came across David Bolter saying, "We could say that there is no story at all; there are only readings.” It made me wonder what the difference is between a story and reading. I think it could still be a story because the author put those words and scenarios there for the reader to discover. I believe that it's definitely a story because all of the different rabbit holes were created for a reader to experience. 

So I wanted to experience it myself so I clicked on the Michael Joyce piece to engage in the hypertext for myself. 

It is very obvious that this is not an e-lit piece created in the last decade. Nevertheless, I engaged in the text. I clicked on number 6 to start my story. And I was taken into a scenario where I met the viralologist, Javier and I was transported back to a time when folks wore beepers. But the main thing I noticed was that there was no hypertext for me to click. I was a little disappointed that my story was at its end. The colorful squiggly lines that are in the photo above were now placed in the margins to the left. I clicked on one of the lines and then I was taken to more text. And this part of the text included a hyperlink that took me to another part of the text that didn't include a hyperlink. 

Every time I came to a page without a hyperlink I was saddened that my story ended and it didn't take me anywhere else. I also, expected to see photos that could've been hyperlinked as well. I have to admit that the plain text and the blue background did make it hard for me the stay engaged in the story. Even though I thought it was interesting. I wonder if my low attention span had anything to do with the fact that technology in which created this e-lit piece is a bit dated. And if it were to be republished using some of the software we have available now, if I would feel differently. For the most part, I was engaged and excited to see where I would go next. But I think when I didn't actually go anywhere different or surprising the clicking of the hyperlinks started to bore me and I just wanted to a read a story straight through.  

My Elit Piece- “Settlement”

I just wanted to start by apologizing to everyone for my absence from class today; I woke up in the middle of the night extremely sick and was not able to get to class. However, I did not want my piece of electronic literature to go without any explanation so I have decided to blog about what I was going to say. I hope you all enjoy it!

Originally what I wanted to do was start off with dice and the reader had to click it in order to “roll it” and one of six different choices would come up. We are all born into a specific life, we cannot choose our families that we get, so just like that, the reader was not able to choose their family. My six options would have been things like a person from a high-income family, someone from a different race, someone who was born from a low-income family, etc. Once receiving your “life” then you proceed to different scenarios that most people face in their lives from childhood all the way to adulthood. Some options you are able to choose and others you must roll the dice again to see your outcome because sometimes in life we do not have a choice and things just happen. I was going to have a pathway on a road to make the choices and a continuing theme of the dice to roll and see what happens. No gender is ever revealed. By the end, the reader would have came to a conclusion depending on what they have rolled and what they chose to do with their options. Those endings were things like death, higher education, homelessness, starting a family, etc. I had to make a lot of changes because I was not able to create such a challenging piece. Instead I made a hypertext linking piece by piece to click and move on, but I did keep the concept of some being choices and some just happening. In the end of the piece you can choose your ending, but if not satisfied you may go back and choose again. The reason I did this was because in real life you cannot choose what happens to you, but in the world of Elit I wanted to allow choices. I also changed the concept of the dice into doors because of my lack of knowledge on how to make dice. The original name was “Roll away, Scroll away,” but it was changed to “Settlement” because that is what I had to do with my piece and what ultimately happens to people in life. They must settle with their choices and with things that just occur and are out of their control.

I was able to create this entire piece using power point and the part that took me the longest to do was linking all of the hypertext to flow smoothly, it is very interactive because you must click to move on, but you must click slowly and wait for each and every part to appear. There are some sounds, for example when you click the door, but I did not add music because I did not want to distract the reader from what was really important, the main idea. The entire piece ended up becoming a huge contradiction at the end because you are able to make a choice and reverse that choice after the entire idea was suppose to be realistic and that is where the “Settlement” derived from. I used images from different sites and even a clip in which if you allow it to play through is a quick video to get a point across and allow my piece to be multimodal and give it a little more excitement.

I am not text savvy at all and was not able to make my piece the way I wanted at all, but I messed around with it for a while and tried to created it to the best of my abilities. I made it nice and short because I know how I felt when exploring one of the longer pieces and after a while my attention would be lost so I wanted to get the point across and straight to the ending which was most important.

Once again I apologize for my absence, I had a great time in class with all of you exploring this entirely new idea to me of electronic literature, thank you for taking the time to read through this blog!