Coming into this class one week late is definitely something that made me nervous, particularly after I saw the number of readings to do before the next class! However, moving through these examples of digital literature did not feel like work, but rather provided me with interesting topics to think about and potentially discuss, one of which was the level of interactivity that I experienced while working through the readings.
I have to admit, when it comes to reading, particularly for pleasure, I’m one of those people that enjoys a physical book, or if not that then an ebook on my Kobo app is also acceptable. I was not prepared for the opportunity to interact so completely with the work, and it definitely threw me off.
The readings can be sorted into a sort of hierarchy, each one more interactive for the reader than the last. Agrippa had a lower level of interactivity, and the reader or viewer simply took in the text and sounds as they came. Next, there were “These Waves of Girls” and “Jellybone,” where the reader had contact with the text in order to move it forward, but had no impact on the story itself. Finally, “queers in love at the end of the world” and “Lucy Hardin’s Missing Period” forced the reader to interact in order to move the story forward, but also allowed the reader to influence the story line.
Though I found myself excited at the prospect of influencing the story myself, and spent a far amount of time playing around and experimenting with the different outcomes, I was drawn to the works at the middle level of interactivity, where I had to advance the story, but had to wait and see what would be coming up next. “These Waves of Girls” and “Jellybone” both used text, images (moving and still), and sounds in order to advance the plot, which drew me in deeply. This turned out to not be a great thing in my case, because when I read standard texts, I’m already very adept at visualizing everything in the story, so when the additional images and sounds and videos were added, it was almost overly stimulating. I found myself very deeply focused on these works, and quite scared at certain parts. While watching the video attachments in “Jellybone,” I found myself moving my phone farther away to gain some distance from it so I wouldn’t be startled… I was anyways.
Overall, my expectations for this week were that I’d be reading some ebooks, maybe with some hyperlinks or images embedded, but I was surprised at the form that the readings took. This week’s readings forced me to redefine my outlook about digital literature, and I’m excited to continue to add to my definition and expectations of it during this course.