As I began to navigate Twelve Blue the first image that came to my mind was me, as a little girl playing on my older brother’s very first Apple computer. This was back in the late 80’s. It had a tiny screen, everything was green. I remember how big it was and how very beige and ordinary it looked. No graphics, just a green screen that flickered with small black text as you typed. I can vividly remember the sounds of the buttons as I typed. The buttons seemed to sink down deep as my small fingers excitedly pushed each key. It was really just scribble scrabble. It just felt cool, and looked cool. I discovered this computer before I learned of Nintendo. Once that craze hit, I was like see you later Apple. It wasn’t until many years later at the age of fifteen, right before I started high school that my parents bought me my first desktop computer. This was in 1996. I mention this memory because as soon as I clicked on the link to Twelve Blue I was transported back in time by that blue screen. As I began to click the hyperlinks and images, after admittedly having some trouble, I was transfixed. My confusion quickly turned to curiosity and I couldn’t wait to click around even more. I wondered if this was in fact the power of Electronic Literature? Capturing our imagination and teaching us new modes of learning about literature.
Navigating Electronic Literature by Jessica Pressman was an interesting read. In the opening paragraph she highlights the importance of navigation as it is used in E Lit. I didn’t realize how navigation is a central characteristic of digital literary works, or how it’s a “primary source of it’s signification.” (Pressman) While clumsily trying to find my way trough a text like Twelve Blue I can easily see what Pressman is describing. Clicking on hyperlinks, which we learned about in Research and Methodologies, along with the different forms of navigation discussed in this article, shows the importance of a changing technological world and the implications it has on our future in learning. I agree with Pressman in that I think this type of interaction that we the readers have with E Lit gives us a deeper scope, a more critical lens into what we are reading, learning, interpreting and most importantly how we are thinking. After reading the opening two paragraphs and learning more about hyperlinks, I was excited to read on and explore the other navigational tools that E Lit has to offer.
This idea of using hyperlinks which is a non linear and non conformist way of learning and engaging with literature resonates with me. It also makes me question my role as the reader. Of course their will always be critics, which were mentioned in the article. But this following quote was important: “Regardless of your view, however, navigating a hypertext not only promotes questions about the role of the reader and the reading practice but also about the structure and signification of literature itself.” (Pressman). Blue Hyacinth was interesting I wish I could access it online and see how it works in real time. But the description and screenshots were detailed enough for me to imagine what it would feel like, similar to Twelve Blue I would imagine. I’m a proponent for anything that makes the reader more engaged and allows them to become part of the bigger picture in what they are reading and learning. The “spastic interactivity” aspect of the Blue Hyacinth was cool, again I wish I could see it in action! As I like to say very trippy dude. This whole culture of E Lit takes us all on such a wild ride, buckle up guys!
My favorite navigational tool is IF interactive fiction. After reading the narrative, the reader gets to decide what comes next by each click of the mouse and by what we type! How cool! The responsibility of the reader is great because whatever we choose to type determines the trajectory of the entire story. It’s also a bonus that we get to see it play out on screen between the characters. The example shown of Facade made me want to play along, I was intrigued. I like the idea of becoming a character within the story, that in itself is a transformative experience. It’s similar to the way a gamer interacts when playing video games as Pressman points out. The bottom line is regardless of how you define literature, it is changing as it becomes digital. Along with changes to the way we read, how we interpret the material and what we learn from it. Is that such a bad thing after all? After reading this article and navigating my way through the trippy world of Twelve Blue I say it’s not a bad thing at all, bring on the change!
I hope this isn’t an inappropriate thing to say but I feel close enough to all of you to say it. I never tried or have been into any type of recreational drugs, but if I was I feel like Twelve Blue is what it would feel like. Forgive me I just had to say it! I mean the blue hues, the imagery, the storyline, the fuzzy random pic of what looked like a man and a woman making love! I mean it all felt like one big trip, but a good one! If you know what I mean!? To be honest I was dazed and confused by it all. But when I continued to navigate my way through each scene, and made my way through the text, I started to feel a flow and rhythm develop. In some ways my mind and body began to relax, my shoulders dropped, I felt a sense of calm. I felt hyper focused and nervous within the first fifteen minutes but then I slowly got the hang of it. Maybe all that blue was hypnotizing me? I also used the Pressman article as a reference and it made all the difference in helping me to figure out what the hell was going on and where I should click next. The story itself was very interesting, I love all things, murder, mystery and filled with intrigue. But the interaction we have with the story is what really made it come to life. I’m eager to dissect this work with you all next class. I curious to hear all of your interpretations of it. I also hope Dr. Zamora can share the screen with us and walk us through it. I don’t want to miss a thing! Oh and the GIF below pretty much sums up my #MOOD during this assignment and this entire E Lit journey w are on lol. Ciao ciao! Xo