“The Witch’s Friend” goes well. But doing all the linking is tedious, tedious work. Whew, dog. I mean TEDIOUS. And since I’m not all done with it, I can’t even reward myself with “Well, go try it out and see how it works” because it only takes about three minutes before I’m dead-ended into the part that’s not all linked up.
But in trying to write the “about” it got me thinking about how retro-futuristic this style of fiction is. Michael Joyce’s “afternoon, a story” was written in 1987 and I think the Eastgate version came out in 1990. It’s been at least 20 years, is what I’m saying. And yet, the Norton version I linked to doesn’t seem that odd in terms of how we think of non-fiction reading/writing on the internet. The idea that there are instructions for reading is just darling.
But that’s not really turned out to be how we read fiction, even as we move to ebooks. It’s strange, really, once you stop to think about it. One of the benefits of an electronic medium is the ability to link and follow links. And yet, we’re still using ebooks to pretty much replicate what happens in print, only on screen.
You have to think that will change, huh?
Anyway, I think one advantage the WordPress.com format gives is that you can know you’ve read everything. One of the things I liked least about the format “afternoon” is written in originally (Storyspace) is that I always worried I was missing out on some piece of text that I needed in order to make sense of things.
Now, if you’re a postmodernist, the idea that you can create a story in which your reader will indeed worry she’s missing out on some crucial piece of text is probably really exciting, a comment on our contemporary lives and the lack of meaning, etc.
But the thing I like best about postmodernism is the sense of playful experimentation. What, exactly, might we do with a story?
It’s like, if we go see a magician and he says he can make a quarter disappear so I hand him one of mine, if the quarter doesn’t come back… well, that’s not so fun for me, nor is it much of a trick, really. But, if there is magic and I end up with my quarter back? That’s good fun.
I want my story to be good fun. I want y’all to feel like you can play in it precisely because you don’t have to miss anything.
But… yeah… retro-future. Is that a word? It should be. The future we envisioned that didn’t quite come to pass. Like flying cars and multi-linear fiction*.
*Back in my day, we used to call it non-linear fiction, but my master’s thesis was all about why that was wrong and it was actually multi-linear not non-linear. Yeah, you can really get a degree in shit like that. It’s both awesome and frightening.