i, Book: An Exploration of E-books by Ariel Bissett

I DID IT!!! WOO! I have had a bucket of trouble with the exporting of my final project but it’s finally here.

Click here to download the file for my e-book about e-books!

(Edit: I think I’ve fixed the errors with the file, but I’m adding a PDF file just in case, but unfortunately the interactivity (THAT I’VE POURED MY HEART AND SOUL INTO) doesn’t exist in the PDF version: i,Book PDF)

You will also be thrilled to hear that I am publishing it to the iBooks store! The process takes a little while (only about 24 hours) and will then be available to all for free!

Even if you don’t read the entire project, I think you’ll have fun flipping through the interactive features I was able to incorporate.

Thanks for a fantastic semester everyone, I’m excited to see most of you again in Poetry next semester! ❤




WHAT A JOURNEY* WE’VE BEEN ON. As I mentioned throughout our course, I’m extremely disappointed by the lack of digital courses in English programs – we write all of our essays on a computer, we find our articles online, we read a lot of our texts as e-books, we complain about all of that work on social media… why aren’t we learning more about how the digital affects and changes our writing?!

The biggest “breakthrough” moment for me was during Matt’s presentation when she led us through creating our own interactive fiction. I realized with astonishing power how different digital writing can be, what it can accomplish that other forms of writing can’t, and how it should be explored and celebrated. I also really enjoyed writing our first paper, on exploring a type of social media. I discussed how instagram is not built for sharing writing but how communities of writers ARE using it for that function and how subversive and effective it is. I thought the exercise of really zooming in on a platform that I use everyday was very useful and interesting and a fun way to start the course. I felt that one of the most exciting parts of the class were when we examined different forms of e-lit (such as ‘AH’ or Lim or Project Rebuild). I enjoyed the conversations we had about how we thought those mediums worked for storytelling and how they affected us personally. It’s been excellent digging through parts of the internet that I wouldn’t usually go to and to more deeply examine the parts of the internet I DO use.

As for constructive criticism: I think there was one presentation too many. I think my project was still too much in the early stages during the lightning presentation, and didn’t change enough between that presentation and the workshop presentation. I found the workshop presentation more helpful! I found the XML part of the course very confusing, but Susan you mentioned that you also felt we could have explored that in a different way.

I want to thank everyone for being so interesting during conversations, doing such a great job during your presentations, and for tolerating my absolute insanity. So glad that most of us will be reunited for poetry exploring a whole new medium! Maybe we’ll find cool ways to make poetry with digital tools… 😏 (Maybe I should write a poem MADE OF EMOJI. I THINK I MAY HAVE HIT GOLD HERE, FOLKS.)

I can’t believe I’ve written 19 of these posts! That’s so much! Thanks “WritingintheDigitalAge” for being my constant companion!

*I used this gif because it’s a video game called “Journey” so it was a play on words and our course themes, but just realized it’s a really great game you should check out!

Butter Archive #18: Tampon Run and Lim

So… those were weird.

I played Lim first and found it really straight forward. Because of the nature of our course, however, I was asking myself “why is this relevant?” It wasn’t until I read the synopsis of the game that I was able to understand it as a form of digital writing. I had that moment of “oh! that’s clever!” but I think it’s significant that it didn’t happen until I’d read the information provided. If I had just been asked to play the game I would never have come up (unless it was an exam and I was whipping out those epic “I can make up significance at any time” English Major skills) with “it’s a representation of being other and isolated as seen in our exclusion of different races in society.” Is it successful, then? Sort of. As I played the game I thought the word “blend” was really interesting as it was my only tool – it’s kind of sad. I understood that I was having to camouflage the succeed, which I can understand. But I feel that this sort of digital writing is really imprecise.

Next I played Tampon Run. It was adorable! And It was created out of the Girls Who Code movement, which is awesome. Go ladies! (I just realized that our class is majority female – is that because it’s an English credit and not a computer science one?) I thought this game was far more effective in working as a form of digital “writing” because of the intro cards – it played out what it was aiming to achieve. Afterwards I didn’t play the game for as long, though, because I felt like I knew what it was trying to achieve, the game was cute but not riveting, so I stopped. In Lim I played for longer trying to figure out what the “message” was. I think it’s a fine line, especially in video games, to explain their purpose and to intertwine that with gameplay.

Butter Archive #17: F r a g m e n t a r y

We’re off to a good start with my CLEVER title. Let’s do this list style, to go with the fragmentary theme.

  1. I thought Carr’s input (who is generally a person I don’t like, so it means something for me to praise him) on the decision making and therefore distracting nature of hyperlinks is very fascinating. It’s totally true that when you encounter a hyperlink you then get pulled out of the text and have to make a decision (even if, albeit, if it’s a minor one) to click on it or not, and then to think about the consequences of missing out on information or getting on a tangent.
  2. In referencing David Shield’s work it was interesting to think about violating copyright and authorship.. it does feel as if the internet allows for a more blending mindset than a usual book.
  3. Twitter as a platform of fragmentary writing that encourages sharing of other peoples content! I’d never thought of it that way! Retweeting suddenly means so much more!
  4. I liked that, overall, this was positive! I’m extremely annoyed with people saying “it’s falling apart! reading writing is falling apart!” (i.e. why I’m not a Carr fan) but this seemed hopeful. It just kind of admitted that there’s a change in how we read and that a change in how we write is the natural next step. It emphasized that this doesn’t need to be the ONLY way people write, but that it’s an interesting alternative and addition.

Butter Archive #16: Video Games as Art?

Over the weekend I attended a literary conference in New York City (I’m sure you all missed me terribly <3). I had a few hours to myself and decided to spend them at MoMA. Visiting art museums is always a good idea, but there was an exhibition in particular that made me hop up in excitement, that I wanted to share with our crew.

They had an area on video games! Which I think is super important, fascinating, and relevant to our studies. We’ve done a lot of talking about e-lit being gimmicky, and almost un-categorizable, and so the inclusion of video games in MoMA is, at least I think so, a big step forward for e-lit to be taken more seriously.

What was most interesting is that unlike a lot of the art that was extremely DO NOT TOUCH THIS FOR THE LOVE OF THE SUNS AND MOONS STAY AWAY, these games were asking to be played and explored and interacted with!

Here are some photos I took:

IMG_2754 IMG_2760

Butter Archive #15: FOMO

A term I’ve been hearing a lot lately, one that is apparently haunting our youth, is “FOMO” or “Fear Of Missing Out.” Although I see it as a bit of a non-issue, I also really understand where it’s coming from.. it’s kind of the reason I deleted Facebook in high school, (because seeing everyone at parties or hanging out without me made me kind of sad.)

Today’s two pieces of media ‘AH’ and ‘Network Effect’ played with this internet phenomenon, this “fear of missing out” that comes from having too much stimulus and not enough time to process it all, very interestingly. In ‘AH’ I felt panicked and nervous that I wouldn’t have time to read the text on the screen. I couldn’t pause, so when I got a text (which usually means I’d pause whatever video I was watching to reply to the text and then keep watching) I had to ignore it and stay focused on the content. I also didn’t know how long it was so I started to feel a bit frustrated that I didn’t know how long it was going to play on for. But it used it’s medium to do something that isn’t often done – it FORCED me to make the decision of either watching the content or missing out on it. In ‘Network Effect’ the sense of running out of time was even more heightened and intensified. I felt like I was looking for something, like I needed to fully take advantage of my 8:14 minutes, which is ludicrous because what the heck was I even looking for?

I enjoyed these texts because of their immediacy, their aggressive storytelling (would we say the second one told a story?), and their use of their medium to do something unique.

Butter Archive #14: The Effects of Having No Physicality

I’ve been thinking a lot about why I haven’t (and maybe why the world hasn’t) taken interactive literature (like the ones we’ve been discussing) very seriously. As a super important preface, I don’t mean that they aren’t important or that they aren’t taken seriously by certain circles, but instead why they haven’t become very popular, why they aren’t taught in schools (like Susan pointed out, none of us have ever come in contact with these things as texts and we’re English Majors living in 2015!), etc.

One of my conclusions is that they don’t have the physicality of books. Now an argument against this (and a very strong argument, at that) is that we’ve learned to love lots of things that aren’t physical – films, video games, for example. But ultimately, those are things you can own – you can buy a film, you can buy a video game. When something is stuck on a screen that you can’t conceptualize as an object, maybe that has made it unable to compete, especially (and this is why I think it’s different to films or video games) because it IS competing against physical books.

This is just a watery idea I’ve been thinking about, and I am open to absolute disagreement. This is also just one of the reasons I think these types of literatures haven’t been more widely accepted, so it’s not “THE reason.” What do you think – does the lack of physicality have anything to do with it?