A writer's notebook is not a final paper but rather reflects the development of a work or series of works. In the informal, recursive, yet productive practice of creating notebooks online, ideas and sources are developed and slowly emerge.
Primarily this 2016-2017 notebook is about the research for and creation of "the whole room like a picture in a dream": Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf Writing. In this work, from an interface of six simultaneously generated arrays, every time "the whole room" is entered, a different version of "Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf Writing" is created. And, as the reader moves into subject-generated arrays -- from the Cornwall landscape to bisexual lives in a repressive society -- the contingencies of Richardson and Woolf's writing practices emerge -- surprising, evocative, challenging, female.
Beginning in August 2017, this notebook also concerns my new work, Arriving Simultaneously on Multiple Far-Flung Systems. Since, until December 2017, work on "the whole room" will also continue, both works will appear in this notebook, until January 2018, when a new notebook will begin.
November 20, 2017
W ith intense work on the writing, coding and interface design, the first of the three P2P dynamic manuscript pages that will comprise Arriving Simultaneously on Multiple Far-Flung Systems is working to the point that it "plays" elegantly, particularly on an iPad touch platform. However, much more writing is necessary, and before it is done, I need to read various histories of satellites and to once again confront the FORTRAN IV (FORTRAN 66) manual.
T he images above depict reader movement from the top page, to reader "on-the-fly" generation of the first manuscript of Arriving Simultaneously on Multiple Far-Flung Systems, to an accessible single array-displaying window. I look forward to generating all the arrays in a continuous printout. Meanwhile, composition observations are recorded here.
1. In Uncle Roger File 3 and its name was Penelope, I coded generative hypertext to create narratives where the meaning slowly built up in unpredictable ways. A part of the composition process was to continually replay the work until I was certain that the lexias worked together in whatever order the reader received them. Later, recollected on this early morning was composed with looping, interlocked lexias that slowly revealed submerged narrative information about the life of a woman artist.
2. The generative hypertext that I used in its name was penelope and The Not Yet Named Jig was influenced by my own card catalogs, as well as by the use of multiple imagery by conceptual photographers and artists, such as Jennifer Bartlett, Sol LeWitt, and Lew Thomas. Using paragraph-sized units that stand by themselves (lexias), this method of writing created a relatively coherent narrative because each lexia was written to either stand by its self or be combined with other lexias. However, beginning with Another Party in Woodside (a prize winner in the Neukom Institute for Computational Science at Dartmouth's Turing Test in the Computational Arts) and continuing with "the whole room like a picture in a dream", I created strategies for composing generative literature using sentences and phrases as variables.
In my work, the goal of computer-mediated literature is not to eliminate all traces of the process. For instance, although, it can be programmed out, I retain repetition to emphasize the presence of aleatory composition. Additionally, because nonsequental sentence juxtaposition sometimes occurs in Arriving Simultaneously, I would like to point out that we do not always remember in chronological order. And, when the whole works (sometimes I rewrite if it does not work), the evidence of a random composition process is poetic and musical.
3. It is generally proper to refer to aleatory computer-mediated creative work as pseudo-random. But because pseudo-random is not understandable to general readers, I have of late eliminated the "pseudo" from the text in this notebook. The expert on pseudo-random and the elusive "true" random is, of course, Donald Knuth. (see The Art of Computer Programming, Volume 2, Chapter three: "Random Numbers").
4. The image of Diana in Arriving Simultaneously on Multiple Far-Flung Systems is taken from an early photograph of my Mother, Barbara Lillard Powers, 1916-2001, Editor of the Somerville Journal, Managing Editor of the Somerville Journal; the Cambridge Chronicle; and the Watertown Press, and long ago chauffeur for the French composer Nadia Boulanger.
November 9, 2017
L ast night new variables were entered in the "early programming" array of Arriving Simultaneously on Multiple Far-Flung Systems. This morning, testing the generated results in combination with the cabin array, I am thrown back in time. It is the summer of 1968, almost exactly a year from the launch of Apollo 11.
November 5-6, 2017
T hese past four days, I have been immersed in the difficult job of integrating the interface, the preliminary program, and the preliminary writing for Arriving Simultaneously on Multiple Far-Flung Systems. To begin with, I'm concentrating on Diana's early life and her meeting with Roland.
When a new work of electronic literature moves from the early planning/writing/coding stage to initial implementation and testing, sometimes everything works as planned. Sometimes nothing works as planned. This has been an in-between experience. Some things are working well; some things need improvement.
1. diana_begin.html. The initial top interface page is composed of active spaces that each lead to a different opening page; each reader choice sets the stage for a different part of the story; eventually they will intertwine. Some of the text that the top page calls will briefly appear on the top page itself. Other text will appear on separate pages. The initial top page is currently in the throes of serious design and image issues, but the idea is working.
2. Generated phrases and sentences. As shown on the left-hand column of the adjacent figure, a series of files has been created. Although there are only four files indicated in this preliminary chart, it works better with five files. The fifth file concerns Diana's summer job.
Each module consists of an image that keys it, phrases and sentences, and code that generates the stored text at random. So far, I am happy with how the generated text is working, but there are issues with how the modules will eventually interweave. Additionally, although, my decision to write Diana's voice as notebook entries that are not writer's voice-embellished gives a certain energy to the work, this needs to be somewhat improved.
The samples below generate 2-4 variables from each module. They are very preliminary because much more text needs to be entered (and there are mistakes). However, they are helpful in seeing what is working and what is not working. Note that each image-keyed file is a separate module. This will allow user image-generated searches that combine the files in various ways.
It is always a thrill to see a long-planned work begin to take shape!
3. Images. The images in Arriving Simultaneously on Multiple Far-Flung Systems are planned to be flexible, by which I mean that the texts they refer to will change. For instance, the cabin image initially combines with Diana's workplace, but it will also combine with her love affair with and eventual marriage to Roland.
A chart of all the images in Arriving Simultaneously (so far) needs to be created and keyed to credits to the source of each image.
Although I used images as icons to key text in maps; in my card catalog The Woodpile (1979); in the early web version of the Blue Notebook (Uncle Roger File 2); as well as in A Party at Silver Beach, the use of images in my work has not been predominant since the days of making maps and "card catalog"-based narratives. Thus, I would like to also call attention to JR Carpenter's algorithmic electronic manuscripts, created with integrated images and generative text -- as well as to Deena Larsen's combinations of images and text in Marble Springs -- as being innovative examples of the use of images in conjunction with story-bearing text in web-based narrative. In the case of Arriving Simultaneously, because the text is generated from different modules, ultimately, the images are important in situating the reader within fluctuating time-frames in the narrator's life. In order that they be meaning-laden but not didactic, many of the images are designed to fade unobtrusively into the background.
October 29-30, 2017
W riting for Arriving Simultaneously on Multiple Far-Flung Systems has accumulated these past weeks in two notebooks, an old one, that I repurposed and a new blue notebook, that stands out more than is desirable in the subdued autumn colors of this unseasonably warm autumn. This needing-a-drawing-on-its-cover notebook is not intended to refer to Jenny's blue notebook in Uncle Roger. Nevertheless, there is a writer's issue here of fictionalizing pieces of one's life.
As if in warning, last week it was with dismay that I read Leonard Woolf's The Wise Virgins. There are nuances, unflattering to either of the women, but it is not Camilla, the "Virginia" character whom, Harry, the "Leonard" character, marries in this novel.
The Wise Virgins was written not long after his marriage to Virginia and published in 1914 while she was still in a precarious in-and-out-of-breakdown state. Leonard's mother said there would be a "serious break" between her and her son if he published it. Nevertheless, it was published. Because of her condition, Virginia writes in her diary that she didn't read The Wise Virgins until late January 1915. She observed in this diary entry that it is a "writer's book". Nevertheless, a few weeks later she had another breakdown. No wonder.
I had a hard time sleeping after reading The Wise Virgins. There is no reason to recount the entire story in this informal notebook. Leonard never wrote another novel.
After reading The Wise Virgins, I went to the public library, checked out The Complete Shorter Fiction of Virginia Woolf (Susan Dick, ed, Harcourt, 1985, 1989), and -- in a coffee house with pleasure -- began reading the stories that are not in the collections I already have.
A nd now, with help from unexpected sources, much of Diana's background in Arriving Simultaneously on Multiple Far-Flung Systems has been envisioned. Because the few decades (during and after World War II) when women were hired as computer programmers are important, I am to a certain extent borrowing from my own life. However, Diana is not me. Some of the changes that I wish to disclose are related here.
Electromagnetic Research Corporation (ERC) in College Park, MD, where I worked as Technical Librarian after I left the Library of Congress, appears to no longer exist. It will not be named in Arriving Simultaneously, and additionally, it has been transported to somewhere off route 128 in the Boston area. Roland, an MIT grad student at the time, worked on the programming for this now fictional company's fictional new computer. Since Roland is also fictional, I'm pretty sure he never worked for the real ERC. A friend of Diana's father was connected with this company, and she worked there during her summer vacations. (Thanks to a similar connection, I worked for a medical library during summer vacations, but that is another story).
Diana was born in 1946 which makes her a few years younger than I am. However, having skipped my adventures in Europe, she arrives in Colorado to go to work for an aerospace company in 1968, which is about when I went to work for BBRC in Boulder. The date is important because Roland, whom Diana had met at ERC during her summer job, shows up in Boulder not long after the July 1969 moonwalk -- a date still memorable in my mind, since I was working for a NASA contractor at the time. Roland is on his way to a postdoc position in Stanford's fledgling computer science department.
While she is working in Boulder, Diana lives in the mountains, I'm not going to say precisely where, but it is somewhere in the Nederland, Ward area -- not in the more remote part of Pinecliffe, where I lived with my then husband, and it is a somewhat easier commute to Boulder than was the commute from the dirt-road-that-we-had-to-plow-ourselves in Pinecliffe. Diana is not married at this time; two years later, she will marry Roland and move to Silicon Valley. Although she is a violinist and plays in a Palo Alto-based string quartet, her music is very separate from her life as a computer programmer.
In reading the histories of woman programmers in the days before University computer science departments were prevalent, I have been deeply impressed by their dedication, by their immersion in their work, and by their role in the development of the field. Thus, just as Diana's work as a programmer is core to her life, it is also central in her voice, as expressed in Arriving Simultaneously. Clearly, her story is different than my own core dedication to computer-mediated artforms. But, in writing the details of the corporate computer science experience in various eras, I have used my own experience. Not only was programming a part of my job when I worked for BBRC beginning in 1968, but also it was a part of my residence at the Xerox PARC Computer Science Lab, beginning in 1993.
T wenty years or so after their marriage, Roland's reaction, when Diana leaves her high-wage job as a programmer and goes to work for a nonprofit in the field of community networking, will eventually lead to his leaving her for a younger woman, who, as he does, works in industry. Subsequently, how Diana meets Toby, her second husband, at CFP93 is a part of the growing legend that surrounds her life. None of this, as should be obvious, is based on my life (although I did speak at CFP93); rather it is what might have happened, given the lives and personalities of the protagonists. At this point the characters have been developed to the point that they themselves seemingly take control of the narrative.
Although her memories are primary in this work, Arriving Simultaneously begins in circa 2006, just before Diana's surprise 60th birthday party, which unbeknownst to her is being planned by Toby's son Dez (by his first wife, the former "booth babe", Miranda) and Diana and Roland's daughter, Phoebe. Since Diana is not enthusiastic about the growing attraction between Phoebe and Dez; since Dez is inviting his mother (who is interested in Toby again because some of his early patents have resulted in a windfall); since Phoebe has invited Roland and Erika, his commercial social media platform executive second wife; and since so far none of Diana's community networking friends have been invited, things are sure to go awry...
On other Arriving Simultaneously fronts, I have returned to working on the code and now need to begin entering variables from the writing of the past few months. The text will be entered in phrases, on the model of what I did in "the whole room". I had some questions as to how this would work, but although neither the writing or the coding are easy processes, what I have tested so far is working surprisingly well.
Meanwhile, although I have yet to confront Leonard Woolf's The Wise Virgins in the "Virginia and Leonard" array of "the whole room", some words from two of Virginia's short stories, "Memoirs of a Novelist" and "The Mark on the Wall", as well as a few more phrases from Dorothy Richardson's The Tunnel, have been added to the writing array. Some of the new additions can be seen in the output below, generated on Friday, October 27.
October 15, 2017
Build1 of the app version of difference that a small amount of blue has been completed. Written between 2000 and 2010, the three works that comprise this trilogy are Dorothy Abrona Mccrae, A Party at Silver Beach; and Paths of Memory and Painting. Under the hood work, an initial "about" file, and a consideration of interface and interface graphics remain to be done. Nevertheless, after many hours of work, difference is working!
L ong form electronic literature is not written as often as it was in the heyday of Eastgate. But because reading complete books on tablets has become a part of reading culture, immersive novel-length electronic manuscripts are a desirable addition to the tablet reading experience. In Difference, the complexity of the reading experience increases slowly as the reader progress though each part, creating a readable introduction to the possibilities of e-manuscripts that take better advantage of the computer screen than do re-housed print narratives.
On August 20, in this notebook, I wrote:
"I had tackled recoding Paths of Memory and Painting partially because in preparation for creating the interface and code for Arriving Simultaneously on Multiple Far-Flung Systems, I wanted to look at how I had structured Part 1 of Paths -- why it was done that way and how well it worked. What I decided was that although the many-lexia-entry portals worked well for the fractured memories in "recollected", the interface for "Arriving Simultaneously" would work better if it began with only one visible portal -- the portal for Diana (the main narrator) -- and then other portals would open and close depending on when they were 'called' in the narrative. "
Almost two months later, a trilogy, now with the title of difference that a small amount of blue, has been both connected and recast in a more contemporary HTML5/CSS environment. It had not been my intention to go this far into recoding, but, in the process, many interesting issues arose in the struggle to make a work display on both a tablet and a large laptop screen.
For example, because it is the one part of difference that displays more effectively on a larger screen, the reader is given two choices -- tablet or larger size --- to enter recollected on this early morning (the first suite of Paths of Memory and Painting). It is also my custom to link a dominant titlepage image to the work. Would it be better to link the image to the tablet or to the larger screen version? Neither approach was satisfactory. The solution was to link the image to an "about" file, which will (as soon as I have written this) discuss display choices. Such adventure game-like interface designer's choices are also familiar to makers of artists books, who create innovative text and image displaying structures, where every structure/text/image choice is a decision.
C ontingently, reading this past week on tablet, I have been immersed in Julianne Nyhan and Andrew Flinn's Computation and the Humanities: Towards an Oral History of Digital Humanities (Springer, 2016), which is available both as a print book and online in a downloadable version. Like the change from reading for "the whole room" in the woods and fields and beside brooks to notebook writing for Arriving Simultaneously (in similar places), the move from book reading for "the whole room" to tablet reading for Arriving was initially difficult. However, it has served to set the stage for writing and coding a work that explores the life of a woman programmer, who initially creates databases for technical documents and then becomes a "circuit rider" for community networking.
Characters eventually take on their own life; ultimately neither Dorothy Abrona McCrae nor Diana are me, nor are they anyone else in real life. But for deep background, I'm enjoying reading the different viewpoints, that occur in the oral history-mediated voices of the DH pioneers that comprise Computatation and the Humanities.
1. "I wondered about your earliest memory, in any context at all, of encountering computing or computing technology?" Julianne Nyhan asks William Ott. It is a question she will continue to ask throughout the book. In his answer, among other things, Ott responds:
"When I started the programming course in the spring of 1966 it was relatively early times for Humanities Computing... After some days I found the exercises they did a bit annoying. Therefore, since I was working on Vergil's Aeneid, an epic poem written in dactylic hexameters, and since I had learned from Eduard Nordenís Commentary on Book VI of the Aeneid (1957) how important it was to also pay attention to the 'pictorial elements' of the hexameter when interpreting the poem, I tried to design a program to automatically compile the metrical characteristics which Norden had collected in the appendix to his commentary. It worked, and it was my second experience of thinking about the application of computers to the Humanities." 
2. With an undergraduate degree in Mathematics and a MA in English Literature at Texas Tech University, Mary Dee Harris had worked as an assembly language programmer at the Jet Propulsion Lab on an early unmanned space shots to the moon, when, as a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin, she encountered a 200 page Dylan Thomas manuscript that was difficult to assemble.
"The second thing that came to my mind after several years of saying I wasn't going to have anything to do with computers was 'if I put this on the computer, I can get it all sorted out,'" she tells Nyhan. "So that turned into my dissertation, Computer Collation of Manuscript Poetry: Dylan Thomas' 'Poem on his Birthday' (Harris Fosberg 1975). 
Among many other interesting accounts in Computation and the Humanities: Towards an Oral History of Digital Humanities, are "They Took a Chance": Susan Hockey and Julianne Nyhan; "There Had to Be a Better Way: John Nitti and Julianne Nyhan" and my own early experiences as an artist programming technical documents at an aerospace company, "The Influence of Algorithmic Thinking: Judy Malloy and Julianne Nyhan".
W alking to my parking space from the coffee house where I finished this book earlier this week, I reflected on Shakespeare Scholar Gabriel Egan's chapter, "So, Into the Chopper It Went". In his interview, Egan tells how he digitized his entire library of 3,000 books, destroying the print books themselves in the process.
"And do you feel no attachment or sentimentality for the materiality of the book or the book as artistic object?"
"Well I didn't have any rare books. So no, these were just functional. I have had one or two tricky cases. For example, I've got a copy of the Norton facsimile of the First Folio of Shakespeare (Hinman 1968). Its only 1968 but the copy I've got I was given by my PhD supervisor, Stanley Wells. It was the one he used when he was making the Oxford Shakespeare edition of 1986, which was a big-deal edition (he was the main Editor.... I felt a little bad chopping it up. But I thought 'I want this thing, I need it, and I want to have it with me! I want to have it everywhere I go'. So, into the chopper it went."[3}
For "the whole room,", it had seemed wrong to read Virginia Woolf and Dorothy Richardson's books on a tablet. They wrote for the book interface. But Egan is a Shakespeare and theatre scholar. Shakespeare was not writing for print, he was writing for the theatre. Admittedly, I was still uncomfortable with Egan's lurid descriptions of "guillotining" the spines off of books. But I found that reading DH oral histories on tablet in a coffee house was a satisfatory experience, not as pleasurable as reading Virginia Woolf's and Dorothy Richardson's books in the same coffee house, but nevertheless, productive and economical. And I like the way Computation and the Humanities is available both as a book and as free downloadable text.
Meanwhile, the writing for Arriving Simultaneously continues. And material for Networked Projects in the Formative Years of the Internet is slowly accumulating. This month an interview with Tom Klinkowstein was published on content | code | process, and a thoughtful conversation about our 1990's Interactive Art Conference on Arts Wire has begun with Anna Couey via email.
And yes, Dorothy and Virginia are still writing:
1. "The University Was Still Taking Account of universitas scientiarum: Wilhelm Ott and Julianne Nyhan, in Julianne Nyhan and Andrew Flinn, Computation and the Humanities
Towards an Oral History of Digital Humanities. Springer, 2016. pp. 55-73
October 3, 2017
I n the past few weeks, the immersive process of re-coding the whole of the Dorothy Abrona Mccrae trilogy, has been punctuated by short writing walks on paths, where a hot rainy late summer has brought wildflowers to the fields and the woods, and along the brooks and rivers.
The writing is for my new work Arriving Simultaneously on Multiple Far-Flung Systems. With last week's words, Diana's life -- leaving college and heading west in an old car, stacks of technical documents and a FORTRAN manual on her desk at her new job, studying systems analysis in the shadow of Apollo 11, and suddenly Roland appears in a Restaurant at a company lunch -- has emerged to the point that I am looking forward to translating my writing to the (not yet completed) coded environment of Arriving Simultaneously.
The narrative of this work will unfold in randomly generated phrases, not unlike the way "the whole room like a picture in a dream": Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf Writing continually creates unexpected narrative dissonance and coherence. Because Arriving is all my own writing, I will have better control of the generated content. However, working on "the whole room" continues to provide a perfect example of experimental writing by two masters.
Thus, as I write and re-code other works, it is with pleasure that I also continue to add new variables to and generate screens from the writing array of "the whole room":And yes, Dorothy and Virgina are still writing:
T he three works that center on the artist Dorothy Abrona McCrae
were created from 2000-2009.
Soon, they will be also appear as a trilogy -- under the title of
I am happy with how these narratives will work together.
September 17, 2017
L ast week, while The Roar of Destiny went into London, in a brief exhibition, hosted by the British Computer Society and curated by Dene Grigar, as an accompaniment to Beyond Grammatron, a celebration of Mark Amerika's work, I spent some time working on the London array of "the whole room". The London array is not generated inside "the whole room" interface, but if you click on:
(here or at the bottom of "the whole room"), you will arrive in Virginia Woolf and Dorothy Richardson's London.
Virginia's London is punctuated with parties of friends and family; Dorothy -- despite her clear joy of living there -- punctuates London with solitary dark places. But, as they write about streets, crowds, sounds, music, remembered words, and umbrellas, their voices cohere remarkably well.
About ten new variables were entered last week. A few appear below in five generated-screens from the London array. Reader, remember, that if you visit this array yourself, you will see something else; each array is generated anew, every time it is entered.
M eanwhile, the writing for Arriving Simultaneously on Multiple Far-Flung Systems continues. This week, in a cafe, on a short walk to a pond, on a short walk along a stream, I worked on Diana's voice (What does her "voice" sound like?). Still struggling with Diana's voice, on Thursday I went to the campus to hear Sergio Militello, Choirmaster and Principal Organist of the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral in Florence, play the 60 or 61 variations of Ciacona.ex C by Johann Valentin Eckelt.
As I listened, I heard Diana's voice emerging in the bass-line. Steady, calm, melodic, graceful, central. All around her, the voices of her family and friends were playing in the variations.
Perfectly played by Segio Militello, as a complete continuous system of base-line and variations, the variations in the Eckelt Ciacona are not like the "windows" of generated words that I envision for Arriving Simultaneously, where there are other dominant voices: some, such as Toby's first wife, Miranda, discordant/challenging; others, such as Diana's son, Braydon, and his African American wife, Olivianne, on harmonic, parallel tracks.
However, in this version of Internet history, it is Diana who is telling the story, and the sound of her voice has emerged. Grazie!
R ecoding of Paths of continues in the background of my life. Recollected on this early morning has been completed. Except for title segments and the "about file", scene one of "When the Foreground and the Background Merged" has been completed. For consistency, I've decided to continue the page design of "scene one" of "When the Foreground" in scenes two and three, a process that will commence this week.
In the recoding process, a writer should seriously question desires to alter a classic look and feel. Personally, I often prefer to retain the look and feel of the original. When approaching such issues, I like to take the role of Giotto (if he had lived that long) considering whether or not to repaint the Padua frescoes in the contemporary style of Michelangelo. I ask myself if that would be a good idea. Nevertheless, the role of page design in how a work of electronic literature is experienced is not trivial. So, in this case. it is also important to realize that I made some mistakes in 2009.
New editions are normal for software of all kinds. The details of book publication also involve a considerable amount of work on the part of both writers and publishers.
A t home, I read Hidden Figures - The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly. (NY: William Morrow, 2016), and I watched the film. The narratives in the book and the film are extraordinary, not only for the core work of the African American women "computers" at Langley -- from World War II to the "space race" -- but also for the details of the protracted segregation which they and their families endured.
September 3, 2017
A fter the rains, the woods and fields are an extraordinary green; beside the creeks and on the fallen logs, moss grows in varied hues. Last week, sitting in the woods, before my notebook was opened -- as if a lover had departed -- I wished that rather than writing-cold myself, I had brought Virginia Woolf or Dorothy Richardson and could inhabit the worlds of other woman writers.
Not unexpectedly, to justify my desire to sit in the woods, as Diana's monologue in Arriving Simultaneously on Multiple Far-Flung Systems begins, she is sitting on the deck of her home in the Sierras. While her husband, Toby, is at his Silicon Valley office (where he often spends midweek before returning to the mountains to spend a long weekend with Diana), in this secluded place, her thoughts will emerge on the screen, accompanied in separate opening and closing windows by the lives and work of her friends, family and colleagues -- as if they are the shadows in Shadow Castle (a childhood-read book).
And so, beside a canal where canoes drift by, or beside a creek, across from a surreal green meadow and dark trees, or as far as crutches can take me through a massive "boulder field", I open my notebook and soon Diana and I are in a small cluttered library about 50 years ago at a company where the D layer of the atmosphere is simulated in a room-dominating bright-blue vacuum chamber. It is a summer job.
My pen moves rapidly; sometimes I can't read my own writing; this does not matter since this exploratory writing will eventually be completely rewritten.
When I first saw Michael Joyce's afternoon, I thought it flowed more smoothly than Uncle Roger. In my work, I composed each unit of text as standing by itself and also capable of being combined with any other lexia. When I looked at afternoon, I questioned my approach, but this quality of unpredictably generated lexias is partially what distinguishes my writing, so I kept to my vision while at the same time I admired how Michael wrote.
Episodes are seldom written in classic sequential order; I write to a lexia and then move to another: from Diana sitting in a tent in the Colorado Rockies, reading a 20th century ad for a job in an aerospace company in Boulder, to Toby in his 21st century office, looking at an engineering drawing for an unusual fountain. Sequential in my work is the order in which I wrote the lexias.
S ince in Arriving Simultaneously, the output will be composed with combinatory generation, I cannot control how the words I am writing will be displayed as well as I did in recollected; however, to a certain extent, code will shepherd the process. To arrive at phrases that combine in various ways, I need to begin with what might be remembered. The process follows the card catalogs I created beginning the 1970's, where the whole had collective meaning, but each unit had meaning by itself. The process is clear in File 3 of Uncle Roger. Memories occur one after another, but are seldom sequential in a traditional fiction sense.
O n the first day of September, in my notebook Diana is remembering the second time she met Toby. The place is CFP93, the memorable Third Conference on Computers, Freedom and Privacy. Here, still available on the World Wide Web Consortium's web site, is the beginning of an email that I received in 1993.
"Date: Sun, 24 Jan 1993 10:16:06 -0800
From: CFP-93 Conference
The Third Conference on Computers, Freedom and Privacy 9-12 March 1993 San Francisco Airport Marriott Hotel, Burlingame, CA
The CFP'93 will assemble experts, advocates and interested people from a broad spectrum of disciplines and backgrounds in a balanced public forum to address the impact of computer and telecommunications technologies on freedom and privacy in society.
Participants will include people from the fields of computer science, law, business, research, information, library science, health, public policy, government, law enforcement, public advocacy and many others."
Given the date of this conference -- the watershed year of 1993, just before the web took off more publicly in 1994 -- this was an important stage-setting gathering. Topics were:
Speakers and/or people in the audience (this line was not always clear) included Anita Borg; Vint Cerf; Richard Civille, Center for Civic Networking; Anna Couey; Dorothy Denning; Mike Godwin, EFF; Mitch Kapor; Brenda Laurel; Judy Malloy; Randy Ross, (Ponca Tribe of Nebraska and Otoe Missouria) Vice-President, American Indian Telecommunications; and Bruce Sterling, who had just returned from Russia and gave me a Russian coin. I gave a talk on Portrait of the Artist on the Net
August 20, 2017
L ast week began with reading Virginia Woolf's The Common Reader on a beautiful Sunday morning on a trail where I had never before been. I chose her chapter on "Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights".
By Friday, August 18, passages from Virginia Woolf's review of the Bronte's and from Dorothy Richardson's reading-Ibsen-episode in Interim had been entered in the reading array of "the whole room". The recoding of "recollected on this early morning" (Part 1 of Paths of Memory and Painting) was almost finished. I had drafted an interface for the beginning of my new work, Arriving Simultaneously, and built on the code that I wrote for "the whole room" to create very preliminary coding for Arriving Simultaneously. On Thursday, in a coffee house I finished enough text to test the interface and preliminary code. By Friday, a very preliminary build was working! I was also working on an update for the content | code | process The Electronic Manuscript pages; rereading documentation of Tom Klinkowstein's early telematic work; and preparing questions for our interview that will begin soon. Whew!
I had tackled recoding Paths of Memory and Painting partially because in preparation for creating the interface and code for Arriving Simultaneously on Multiple Far-Flung Systems, I wanted to look at how I had structured Part 1 of Paths -- why it was done that way and how well it worked. What I decided was that although the many-lexia-entry portals worked well for the fractured memories in "recollected", the interface for "Arriving Simultaneously" would work better if it began with only one visible portal -- the portal for Diana (the main narrator) -- and then other portals would open and close depending on when they were "called" in the narrative.
A rriving Simultaneously on Multiple Far-flung Systems is an electronic manuscript, keyed by a randomly-generated stream of consciousness monologue by Diana, who abandoned a lucrative career as an aerospace company programmer and set out on a journey to bring community networking to poverty-line rural and urban communities.
As the work begins, an invitation sets off a chain of recollections of her life and the Internet family dynasty she heads with her hacker/inventor husband, Toby. Portals to extended family lives are keyed by their mention in her thoughts and appear on the screen, whenever the reader calls them from Diana's recollections.
Internet culture is observed and debated as issues -- such as identity, gender, diversity, privacy, Internet history, social media dominance, profit vs non-profit -- arise in clashes between family members. And, in the process, a story informed by my own memories proceeds with cameo appearances by the people of Internet history.
Output from the "Arriving" code is not ready to enter in this notebook. Although, unlike "the whole room", a reading process is not central for Arriving, research will be needed in several aspects of the work. For instance, I have experience in working in a programming capacity in the aerospace industry. That, I can write, but I am wondering about the general picture for woman programmers who were hired at a time before this became the territory for male computer scientist PhD's. What happened to the women in this transition time? I look forward to reading Margot Lee Shetterly's Hidden Figures: The Story of the African-American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race, and I'm planning to start by re-visiting Julianne Nyhan and Andrew Flinn's Computation and the Humanities - Towards an Oral History of Digital Humanities, which includes quite a few interviews with women, including an interview with me and an interview with Mary Dee Harris, who began working at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena before computer science was widely taught in universities. Also of interest is Donna Cox, Ellen Sandor, and Janice Fron's forthcoming book for the University of Illinois Press, Women in New Media Arts: Perspectives on Innovative Collaboration, for which I wrote the Foreword, and which includes chapters by Donna Cox, who is Director of the University of Illinois' Advanced Visualization Laboratory at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications; Carolina Cruz-Neira, who played significant role in the development of the virtual immersive environment that would evolve into the Cave Automatic Virtual Environment; and on Ping Fu and Colleen Bushell's work on graphical interface design for the Mosaic web browser.
M eanwhile, here are three output screens from the reading array of "the whole room". Intermittently in the output, Charlotte Bronte never allows Virginia Woolf to forget her; Dorothy Richardson is with Ibsen in the mountains of Norway.
Representing the role of reading in the work of Virginia Woolf and Dorothy Richardson. as well as in the creation of "the whole room", the
reading array is located outside of "the whole room". Other than by the direct link just given, it can only be accessed from the notes. From within the reading array, click on
It is my intention to continue work on "the whole room" until December. Access to the books I need is curtailed by various factors; December is a good time to review the interface and to clean up/standardize the code; I would anticipate some interface and code changes at that time.
The beginning thinking for "the whole room" is documented in the September 20-23 entry of my 2015 writer's notebook; creating this work has been an immersive process, but I am reluctant to emerge from the combined works of two brilliant women writers.
August 5, 2017
T hanks to a bookseller in a neighboring state, an immediately- treasured copy of Virginia Woolf's The Common Reader arrived when I was in the midst of a cyberpoet's re-occurring task of updating the software and/or markup languages that control my work. Last week (and continuing), the task was/is updating Paths of Memory and Painting (2008-2010) from an earlier HTML environment to a HTML5/CSS environment
Paths of Memory and Painting is an electronic manuscript, in which markup languages are used algorithmically as well as for design purposes. Thus, updating to HTML5/CSS is not a simple task. Nevertheless, I am pleased with how the work is progressing, and the struggle is worthwhile -- like washing windows to better see the view.
In the color box interface for "recollected on this early morning", part I of Paths, the reader is eventually confronted with a screen of fractured recollections. An artist, Dorothy Abrona McCrae, returns many years later to a place in the Berkeley Hills where she remembers sitting and painting in the Spring of 1944. Her husband, Luke, (they were young and newly married), was killed in the battle of Tarawa in November of 1943. California was the last place she saw him.
In such cases, one woman might go home to her family; another might stay, as Dorothy did, in the last place she saw her husband -- taking refuge in painting in the California hills; immersed in local wartime culture; repressing death in battle, imagining a soldier's return that will never occur, becoming Californian. And, as she locates herself in a study of California art history, California artists appear as continuo in her fractured memories.
The hidden polysequential paths that underlie certain works of hypertext, appear in "recollected on this early morning" in an array of immediately visible entryway texts to variously shuffled stacks of semi-polysequential lexias. Entry1 opens the painting stack at "Early Twentieth Century"; entry2 opens the painting stack at "Walking up the trail". Entry3 opens the music stack at "I think there is more to the story"; entry4 opens the painting stack at "White-capped mountains in the distance"; entry5 opens the music stack at "My room in Mabel's parents' home"; entry6 opens the music stack at "Wasn't asked to go with the troops". Entry 7 opens the "blondel" stack at "Armed only with remembered song"; and entry8 opens the blondel stack at "Apple trees flowering". All the stack entryways continually juxtapose text in ways that are related to both each other and the whole; the whole was composed with this in mind.
Lexias advance filmically, generally timed to change every 60 seconds, but the entire text in each lexia is also a link that leads to the next lexia in the stack, so that readers themselves can control not only where to read but also the movement of the lexias.
The updating of the markup language in the interface and in each lexia is proceeding slowly, but it should be finished by the end of August. The changes are not always visible to the reader.
"We are sharply cut off from our predecessors. A shift in the scale -- the war, the sudden slip of masses held in position for ages -- has shaken the fabric from top to bottom, alienated us from the past and made us to perhaps too vividly conscious of the present. Every day we find ourselves doing, saying, or thinking things that would have been impossible to our fathers...New books lure us to read them partly in the hope that they will reflect this re-arrangement of our attitude -- those scenes, thoughts, and apparently fortuitous groupings of incongruous things which impinge upon us with so keen a sense of novelty--and, as literature does, give it back into our keeping, whole and comprehended." - Virginia Woolf, The Common Reader 
Although "whole and comprehended" is not always our goal, as I did in "recollected on this early morning", we often struggle in electronic literature towards an approach to meaning through "re-arrangement".
C ontingently, a week or so ago, while I sat in the deep woods, slowly -- very slowly, looking at Donald Knuth's history of combinatorial practice, I noted that in a figure taken from Athanasius Kircher's Ars Magna Sciendi sive Combinatoria (1669, in which Kircher discusses the work of Raymond Lull), Knuth added a quote from "The Ars Magna of Ramon Llull" section of Martin Gardner's Logic Machines and Diagrams (1958), as follows:
"When ideas are combined in all possible ways, the new combinations start the mind thinking along novel channels and one is led to discover fresh truths and arguments..." 
1. Virginia Woolf, "How it Strikes a Contemporary", in Virginia Woolf, The Common Reader. First and Second Series Combined in One Volume. NY: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1948. pp. 326-327.
July 23-24, 2017
A week of very hot days. In a mid-summer transition time, when I'm plotting a new work (for which the title changes every week; this week it is "instantly reproduced on multiple far flung systems"), as the work for "the whole room like a picture in a dream" begins to move into the background of my life, I am seeking again to define this not-easily-categorized work.
To begin with, "the whole room like a picture in a dream" is a generative electronic manuscript, which explores the contingent writing practices of Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf. The making of the eight arrays of this continuously randomly generated manuscript was informed by my early information art practice  and by John Cage's computerized version of The First Meeting of the Satie Society. As explained here in three notes (2,3,4), "the whole room" was created with the idea of loosely adapting "Monte Carlo" simulation to a humanities context. It was authored with a variation of my award-winning "Another Party in Woodside" code.
"...instead of being a book it seemed as if what I read was laid upon the landscape not printed, bound, or sewn up, but somehow the product of trees and fields and the hot summer sky..." - Virginia Woolf, Essays
But on a human and personal level, the texts that comprise the variables in this work were not chosen by computer searching. Instead, many of the phrases and sentences were chosen by walking in the countryside and, at intervals, stopping to read. This was important because -- as indicated by this array from "the whole room" -- the lives and writing practice of Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf continually reflected the seasons and surroundings of the places where they lived and walked.
T here have been times -- the late 18th century, for instance -- when reading outdoors was a part of the culture, Andrew Piper observes in Book was There: Reading in Electronic Times. In "Among the trees" (Chapter Six), which I read in a coffee house last week, he writes:
"Reading in the woods is just one example of the way reading is deeply shaped by where we read. Whether on trains, planes, buses, in bed, at a carrel, by a bookshelf, or under a tree, we will read just about anywhere. But as Gertrude Stein understood in those words, 'book was there,' it matters deeply where one reads. Reading and place conjoin to form a powerful mix of meaning." 
"And thus it is that although the book yields its treasure not directly in a single eyeful, but extendedly in the course of a prolonged collaboration between reader and writer, it remains humanity's intimate: the domestic pet among the arts. It is mobile and companionable, allowing itself to be carried in the pocket to the ends of the earth." - Dorothy Richardson, John Austen and the Inseparables
The book as object was also important in the lives of both Virginia Woolf and Dorothy Richardson. In addition to the central role of reading and writing in her life, Virginia Woolf set type and bound books for Hogarth Press. Her sister, Vanessa Bell, designed many of the covers. In addition to the central role of reading and writing in her life, Dorothy Richardson's husband, Alan Odle, was a book illustrator, and in 1930, Dorothy authored John Austen and the Inseparables , a monograph about their friend, book illustrator, John Austen:
For me, outdoor reading began when I was a child, who packed books, notebooks, and paints and paper and bicycled around the countryside, stopping when I felt like it to read or draw or write.
its name was Penelope was primarily written on small hidden beaches, along the East Bay shore. Much of The Yellow Bowl was written first on small beaches at Point Pinole in Northern California -- and then beside the pond in the woods behind my mother's house in New Hampshire, as well as beside a hidden crystal clear lake in the woods a few miles away. At times, I can hear the waves lapping on the shore when I read Penelope; when Clara and Helen finally meet in The Yellow Bowl, it is at a place that I discovered on a writing walk in New Hampshire.
And some of The Roar of Destiny was written in the California Gold Country.
This week -- planning my new work as I walked in the early morning heat; sitting in a chair beside a perfect pond; rereading Virginia Woolf's Between the Acts; onward in Between the Acts in the deep woods -- I continued to remember past places of walking, writing and reading. And surprisingly, at home, my files produced long forgotten evidence of such activities in my arts writer's practice.
While organizing my disordered-for-years files, I found this article:
Judy Malloy, "Some Artware for Macintosh Computers: Computers are helping to Create New Ways of Telling Stories and Making Art", MicroTimes, May 31, 1993.MicroTimes was a California-based computer magazine for which I was a contributing writer from 1992 to 1995. "Some Artware for Macintosh Computers" was written in Arizona, with a loaner Mac from Apple. Much of it was written on a walk in the Arizona desert.
"Some Artware for Macintosh Computers" begins in a guest cottage. At night, after my host turned off blue lights on the patio, in the cottage, I booted up and traversed the works that I planned to review, beginning with Fortner Anderson and Henry See's Odyssey (HyperCard1.2 plus MacinTalk) From the article:"A few days and several Mac disks later, I was walking in the Phoenix Mountain Reserve, up a dry, stony path bordered with masses of yellow, blue, and pink flowers and enormous polysequentially branching saguaro cacti that brought to mind some words Stuart Moulthrop had written in 'After the book': 'I've always thought polysequential was a better way to describe hypertext,' he said."
Along the trail, I sat on prickly, clay soil and wrote a few notes about the use of images in the Mac disks I had been reading. They included Richard Gess' Mahasukha Halo and KAOS, a special edition of the French Literary Magazine Action poe(/)tique, which I think Jean-Pierre Balpe sent me. I also had with me the catalog for the exhibition "The Computer is not Sorry" (held at The Space in Boston, earlier that year). After quoting some of Simon Penny's catalog words in the draft for the MicroTimes article, I resumed walking:
"...observing that, in the distance, one of the downward trails led to a major boulevard, I followed this trail rather than the trail that I knew led home. It was a pleasant walk despite the glances my Cal hat drew from hikers going the other way, wearing Arizona State hats. Distracting views led across the desert to distant bluffs, and I sometimes stopped to identify wildflowers in Mockel's Desert Flower Notebook, a book that artist Melynda Reid (who lives in a mobile home in Florida where she draws wildflowers) had loaned me. An hour or so later, I emerged on a busy thoroughfare about four miles further away from home than intended. Ah, I thought, as I sat waiting for a bus that I hoped would take me back to Paradise Valley, a hypertext excursion. "
"Some Artware for Macintosh Computers" concludes in this way:
"'If you have a story to tell, isn't it best to tell it in a straightforward manner?' a friend asked that evening.
'Every writer has his or her ways of telling a story,' I say. "Every artist has a different vision. It is not a question of replacing the sequential book... but rather that the computer has enabled new ways of telling stories and making art."
1. Judy Malloy, "OK Research, OK Genetic Engineering, Bad Information: Information Art Describes Technology", Leonardo, 21:4, 1988. pp 371-375.
2. There are various definitions of Monte Carlo simulations, but briefly, they are a group of computational algorithms that (generally in the sciences, particularly in particle physics) use repeated random sampling to explore and clarify problems. Clearly my usage is not precise, but looking at this from a humanities point of view, and from the point of view of "the whole room", we do not know what, if any, was the relationship between the writing practice of Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf. Would repeated (in this case, pseudo-)random combinations of their ideas from and about their writing contribute to an understanding of the relationship between these two extraordinary women? At this point the answer is clearly: yes.
3. Peter Dizikes, "Explained: Monte Carlo simulations: Mathematical technique lets scientists make estimates in a probabilistic world", MIT News Office, May 17, 2010
4. Clarissa Ai Ling Lee's contribution to the Critical Code Studies Working Group 2012 (CCSWG12), was Pythia (Ver 8 and Ver 6, Programming languages for various versions: FORTRAN, C++), a classic "Monte Carlo" simulation tool with literate documentation.
Although I knew of Monte Carlo simulations from years of working with technical information, I was not very familiar with how they worked until Clarissa Lee set this out in CCSWG12. In 2014, when for "The Not Yet Named Jig" (canto 7 of From Ireland with Letters), I needed to show readers what the Massachusetts town of Malden was like in the 17th century, I remembered Pythia and thought that I could create a generative hypertext in which each lexia was based on known or fictionized-from-known information, and then -- if the work was run repeatedly -- from multiple (pseudo-)randomly produced combinations, a picture of Malden in the 17th century would emerge. Not surprisingly, but nevertheless amazingly, it did.
5. Andrew Piper, Book was There: Reading in Electronic Times. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2012. p 112.
July 9, 2017
Last week was sometimes summer days; early morning walks, reading in the woods, and sometimes wild rain storms.
I n June, when I began to read Between the Acts, Virginia Woolf's last work of fiction before she died in 1941, it seemed important to, at the same time, read her diary from that era. Now, as I write this notebook entry, in Woolf's diary, it is 1940, and into her diary has crept the blackout, the Battle of Britain, and the Blitz.
A result of writing variables that concern WWII into the code for "the whole room" has been cogent examples of how one phrase, when it appears in the output, can change the meaning of the whole. Three texts from the early days of World WarII have been entered in different arrays of "the whole room. Not surprisingly, when they are encountered, which is not very often -- and even if they are early observations (from the early days of the blackout as in the output below)-- the meaning of the output is altered.
From the weather array
From the London array
T he WWII texts entered in the past few days are as follows:
Two into the last set of the London array (the last set now includes 26 variables but it is not the only set called in the London array output); the last set is called once, every time the London array is run.
One into the "summer" set of the seasons array (which now includes 20 variables, but it is not the only set called in the output of the seasons array). The summer set is called three times, every time the seasons array is run.
This brings up the question: will I want to precisely control the probably of certain events occurring in the output of my new work (very tentatively called Four Crystal Goblets Unexpectedly at Midnight)? To a certain extent, this may be desirable in the Internet-history centered Four Crystal Goblets. But it is only sometimes appropriate in the reading, writing and memory-centered arrays of "the whole room".
In VSW's words from her diary:
"Also I shall do away with exact place and time. Anything may be out of the window -- a ship -- a desert -- London."
And speaking presciently for generative literature as a whole, in Interim (1919), Dorothy Richardson writes:
"Do you remember looking at the kaleidoscope? I used to cry about it sometimes at night; thinking of the patterns I had not seen. I thought there was a new pattern every time you shook it, for ever."
June 24, 2017
T he past weeks began with a harried trip to the library in order to identify what needs to be read in the Richardson and Woolf sections and -- before my access expired -- to begin scanning what I could. It did not take long to realize that this was not in keeping with the spirit of the project.
Because "the whole room" is a poet/coder/ reader's exploration of two experimental writers, whose reading practice was central in their lives and work, the act of reading the separate works of Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf is important in my vision for "the whole room". But feeding page after page into a scanner or sitting on the library floor, taking books down from the shelves in a rushed exploration of what I have not read, is not in keeping with my vision for ""the whole room like a picture in a dream": Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf Writing.
Instead, with many thanks and much respect for the purveyors of historic used books, I will continue with what I can find on a limited book budget. Two treasures arrived since my last notebook entry: John Cowper Powys, Dorothy M. Richardson, London: Joiner and Steele, 1931, and Virginia Woolf, Between the Acts, NY: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1941.
Woolf's Between the Acts is a many-readings in meadows and beside brooks book; there is no need to hurry this escapist's pleasure. Meanwhile, in his monograph, Powys writes eloquently of the "atmosphere" which pervades Pilgrimage:
"Perhaps no writer has ever devoted so much attention to the 'atmospheric' aspects of her backgrounds. The way the morning light falls upon furniture and bric-a-brac in rooms; the way the evening light falls from passage-windows upon staircases and woodwork; the way shadows fall and slide and drift and lift and sink upon roadways and pavements; the way lamps and fires and candlelight affect the psychic temper of a room; the way the greyness of a colourless sky impregnates the simplest things in a room, the very tea-cups on the table, the very wash-basin on an attic chest-of-drawers; the way the mistiness of an autumn afternoon glides through the cracks and crannies of the most shuttered and cluttered boarding-house..." (pp 12-13)
His primary focus, however, is on Miriam as an extraordinary heroine. Gilt-boxed within a male viewpoint and male desire, in this 48-page monograph, Richardson's "Miriam" is seen through the eyes of a well-known male writer of the era (the author of Wolf Solent, published in 1929). Yet surprisingly, Powys slowly builds a credible case for the importance of Miriam -- particularly when read in our identity and avatar-focused era.
"The heroine of Miss Richardson's great work," he observes, "has an identity so real that it is only comparable to the identity in ourselves of which we alone are aware." (p. 14)
Miriam is not the avatar (or agent in the early interactive art/AI sense) everyone would select and perhaps that is at times the difficulty. One doesn't, for instance, see Miriam in the screen of avatar choices presented by Second Life. But Powys' interpretation of Miriam as a female equivalent of "the male quest for the essence of human experience" (p.6) is potent, and over and over he presents his case differently:
"In reading Pilgrimage, we are unconsciously on the look-out for those particular renderings of the Good, the True and the Beautiful which have become an inheritance of our very blood and bones. We have to learn the art of taking these with a difference. To a large extent we must overcome this exigency that goes so deep, and is so intricately entangled with the conventional feelings of ten thousand years. We must cease to look for 'charm and cleverness,' and learn to look for something rich and strange, for something that has always been there and yet has never been given utterance." (p. 9)
M ost of the arrays that comprise "the whole room" are now where I would like them to be: working while at the same time they are open to new input. This continues to be an interesting and fruitful process. But, the struggle this week was with the writing array. There are several reasons why the writing array has been more difficult. One is that because their ideas were densely expressed, in juxtaposition they appear as waring passages, even though they are at times expressing contingent ideas in different contexts (in Virginia's intimate diary, as opposed to interwoven with the fictionalized early life of a writer in Pilgrimage, for instance).
Although occurring and reoccurring discordant ideas are important to this array, in studying the output, it became apparent that I had not sustained reader interest by grounding Richardson and Woolf's theoretical thinking with narrative content from their lives, nor had I included enough implied suggestions of how they incorporated their ideas in their actual writing.
And so, with the addition of about 14 new variables and a shortened number of variables chosen to produce generated output (it was a total of 8; it is now a total of 6), the writing array is improved. However, this struggle is not over.
June 11, 2017
A copy of Dorothy Richardson, Journey to Paradise: Short Stories and Autobiographical Sketches, edited by Trudi Tate (London Virago, 1989), has been received!
It was the third week in March, when I first began reading this book in the Firestone Library. At that time, I desired to have my own copy of this 140 page out-of-print book, but I could not find a single copy under $60.00, and so (I have access only privileges), I began a library visit tradition. After reading for the resources page for Contemporary Social Media Narrative, I would go to the stacks, where this small book resided -- always afraid it would no longer be there -- and read one or two stories. As an end to my Rutgers faculty access loomed, worried that I would not be able to reread these stories, I rechecked and found a copy for $2,00. It is now in my possession! Thank you all Amazon used booksellers who have sent affordable treasures during the course of my reading for "the whole room."
I began reading Journey to Paradise about the time when in the rare books room, I was reading Richardson's John Austen and the Inseparables (London: William Jackson Books, 1930). In this notebook, I quoted her words about the book as an object: "...mobile and companionable, allowing itself to be carried in the pocket to the ends of the earth." Yes. And the small treasured copy of Journey to Paradise is a pleasure to take into the woods and meadows and beside the brooks of the Princeton area.
W orking this week on the writing array of "the whole room", I concentrated on adding a few more passages from the Journey to Paradise stories. From "Excursion", a passage -- in which she suggests that the experience of life can be composed like an artist making a picture rather than a chronological narrative -- was added to the writing array. In the output below, this passage concludes the text, while far above it are Virginia's words from "Modern Fiction", which begin: "Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged..."
Then, working from "Data for a Spanish Publisher", which appears in the last section of Journey to Paradise, I took this powerful line from the place on page 139 where Richardson writes about her departure from the expected constraints of the print novel:
"Assembling their characters, the novelists developed situations, devised events, climax and conclusion. I could not accept their finalities.
and added it to the writing array that is part of "the whole room", where, in the output below, it concludes the text.
Next, a passage from Virginia Woolf's "Modern Fiction" in The Common Reader -- remembered for some time, but not yet entered -- was placed in the writing array ("...as they fall upon the mind in the order in which they fall, let us trace the pattern...").
T he past two weeks were also devoted to looking at the work as a whole. I began with creating a formal bibliography. Organized by date of first publication, which allows readers to see how Woolf's and Richardson's works coincided in publication, the bibliography includes most of the sources I've used so far and will be updated as I continue to read.
Although I will be beginning a new work in midsummer, the work on "the while room" will continue. It is always a pleasure to see how this work evolves with each new addition.
Meanwhile, the notes page has been expanded, and the connections between the various pages have been improved.
May 28-30, 2017
"Surely what fiction, at the its best, can do,
W hen I began thinking about creating "the whole room", a few years ago, it was in search of how Dorothy Richardson developed her writing practice and, in the process, to pay a debt I owed her because of the reoccurring influence of her work and words on my electronic literature writing practice: the collaborative reader, inconclusive scenes and endings, and the stringing together of evocative scenes, an approach that in my work informed the lexia -- as it developed from my early "card catalog" works.
While reading Dorothy's letters -- encountering many gaps, many unknowns about her life -- I considered how much more Virginia Woolf had written about her life and how their writing lives unfolded in parallel time periods, beginning with the 1915 publication of their first novels, Dorothy's Pointed Roofs and Virginia's The Voyage Out. The publisher for both of these works was Duckworth, founded by Virginia's half-brother, Gerald Duckworth.
At the time that I made the decision to change "the whole room like a picture in a dream": Dorothy Richardson Writing to "the whole room like a picture in a dream": Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf Writing, I thought the combinational generative output would be dominated by differences between Virginia Woolf and Dorothy Richardson.
But, beginning with cornwall.html, their voices merged -- almost as if they were sisters -- to the point that sometimes even I have to consult the marginalia-key to know who is talking. In addition to "cornwall", the arrays where their voices often form a harmonious duet/dialogue, are writing.html, orlando.html, and the array that focuses on the way changing seasons and variable weather pervaded their lives and work, seasons.html.
Differences emerge more strongly when they are separately dialoguing with their partners, (Virginia_Leonard.html and Dorothy_Alan.html ) and in london.html where the separate circles they traversed in their different social situations is more apparent. But even here -- although, it does not appear that they ever met -- the output seems like a dialogue between two women, who know each other through their writing and are responding with the details of how they live in and interact with the city. In the example below, following the title phrases (Virginia, Dorothy), it is Virginia, Dorothy, Virginia, Virginia, Dorothy, Dorothy (these two phrases concern her parting with HG Wells), Virginia.
It has been extraordinary adventure!
L ast week I spent much time making very small changes in the opening page and "the whole room interface page". For the later, I considered a suggested less-conceptual interface -- images in a room that led to each array, for instance. But in the end, although I am working on a new version of the notes that will include a concise/clickable map to the arrays, I kept "the whole room" scroll interface because the idea of the interface as a generative scroll -- although in print-terms not as workable as it was in the days of ubiquitous continuous feed paper -- was at the heart of "the whole room". And, partially because of its roots in poetic information art, for this work I wished to retain the conceptual word-intensive scroll look and feel.
However, an image-suffused interface would be perfect for the work that I plan to begin later this year. It will use a similar authoring system, but I myself will write the variables for the fictional characters in this generative fiction about a dynasty of feuding Internet networking generations -- that begins with community networking.
A nd then, with the passage in Dorothy's Clear Horizon where Amabel goes to Holloway Prison for marching for the right of women to vote, Amabel was added to "the whole room". Into the Orlando array, I put only the beginning:
"Down, down, down the long staircase, with Amabel, better known and more beloved than any one on earth..."
In the London array, I used the entire passage:
"Down, down, down the long staircase, with Amabel, better known and more beloved than any one on earth, a stranger and hostile, a young girl in a cloak, going, breakfastless and sick with excitement, to pay for effectively stating the desire and the right of women to help in the world's housekeeping."
O n Saturday morning I packed up The Waves and went in search of a waterfall I had never seen. It was a rough hike on crutches; but there was a pleasant surprise at the place of the late-Spring-diminished waterfall. And, in one of the most peaceful mornings of this lovely Princeton-area spring, I sat and reread part four of The Waves, where there is a farewell dinner for Percival in a London restaurant. Among the passages I chose to add to the London array were:
"'glittering, many-pointed and many-domed London lies before me under mist.'"
"'Now the cab comes; now Percival goes...How signal to all time to come that we, who stand in the street, in the lamplight, loved Percival?'"
May 15, 2017
The reading of Virginia Woolf's The Years, which I had never read before, took place in a week of lush spring flowers, rain, and the pleasure of presenting from afar at Other Codes/Cóid Eile at the National University of Ireland, Galway.
I finished The Years on Mother's Day, sitting on the trail because the grass was wet, and then retreating inside. This afternoon, into the London array, I entered four phrases from The Years.
Afterwards, when I generated the London array, Virginia dominated the output -- dressing over and over for Clive's party, listening to an interrupted pigeon lullaby -- until in the last generated screen, Dorothy issued an invitation to 32 Queens Terrace, and once again, fictionized HG Wells, put on his clothes and called for a Hansom.
I did not put the London array into the central interface page of "the whole room like a picture in a dream": Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf Writing; "The Whole Room" seemed complete without it. Instead, the London array is linked near the end of "The Whole Room". To access the London array, page down and click on: "...the little boat crossing the river"?
April 29, 2017
Underlying this week's enjoyable work -- on Networked Projects in the Formative Years of the Internet; on the reading for a resource to accompany the contemporary social media panel; and on "Conveying Diaspora in a Polyphonic Electronic Manuscript", my talk for Other Codes at NUI Galway -- was the poet/coder's pleasure of plunging into the London array for the whole room.
This week, the variables for the London array were primarily taken from Dorothy's Letters, Virginia's diary, pt 3, Dorothy's The Tunnel and Interim, and Virginia's Night and Day, "Kew Gardens", and Mrs Dalloway.
The London array does not yet contain enough to be introduced online, but a few examples of output from this array-in-progress are printed below:
April 16, 2017
E aster weekend. Continuing work on "the whole room like a picture in a dream": Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf Writing. Reading Virginia Woolf's Night and Day, in which Jane Austen's deftly satirical language is perfectly mimicked in a tunnel-view novel of 20th century English courtship.
Since last month's immersion in Richardson's The Tunnel, I have been thinking that an array should be created for London, but have not wanted to construct it. In the light of Night and Day, (published in 1919; The Tunnel was published in 1920) I can no longer delay this personally-undesirable foray into City.
Writing: Every new addition to the writing array increases knowledge of how these two extraordinary women approached the writing of radically experimental works. Every generated page from the Writing array is also a dialogue between Dorothy and Virginia. At one point, I wrote code in which variables from each woman alternated precisely: Dorothy's words, Virginia's words; Dorothy's words, Virginia's words -- but I found that the generated results seemed forced/didactic. Surprisingly, the arrays that comprise "the whole room like a picture in a dream": Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf Writing generate in a more natural manner if their voices appear at the will of the computer -- as seen in the examples below:
And last week, I continued to add to the Dorothy and Alan array -- particularly interested in how a few words from Dorothy's short story "Tryst" " encapsulate her (and Virginia's) mixed feelings about the role of marriage in the lives of creative women:
April 4, 2017
Early spring. The sound of rain. At home, reading Richardson's Interim and Woolf's short stories. In the library, reading Graham Meikle and Sherman Young's Media Convergence. And there are fig buttercups in the woods. Below me on the trail, there was an entrancing entire field of fig buttercups, but the hill was too steep to traverse on crutches.
Revisiting my writer's notebooks from 2011-2012, I am piercing together the roots of the unmeasured polyphonic authoring I used in "Begin with Arrival". (Part II of From Ireland with Letters). In editing From Ireland, it is on this section that I have lingered, and it is this section that I am focusing on for the Other Codes Conference in Galway in May. The topic is: conveying diaspora with polyphonic electronic literature.
A s sometimes happens in my evolving practice -- in exploring the lineage of the algorithmically combined voices of Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf in "the whole room like a picture in a dream": Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf Writing -- I return to John Cage. In this case, it is Cage's The First Meeting of the Satie Society. The electronic version of this work (not the book or the recording) was published on Art Com Electronic Network in 1986, where it was soon followed by my Uncle Roger.
In "Art Works as Organic Communication Systems", her paper in the 1991 Roy Ascott/Carl Loeffler edited issue of Leonardo, Anna Couey describes The First Meeting of the Satie Society in this way:
"Conceived by John Cage and realized through the application of programs written at Cage's request by Jim Rosenberg and Andrew Culver (1985-86), this homage to the composer Erik Satie consisted of texts (presents) by writers who knew and loved Satie's work (or who might have if they had existed in a time period that enabled them to know it), restructured by two computer programs. The texts were written by Henry David Thoreau, James Joyce, Marcel Duchamp, Chris Mann, Marshall McLuhan and John Cage, and also included selections from The Book of Genesis; there was also a "response" by Satie, consisting of selected quotes. One of the computer programs, MESOLIST, by Jim Rosenberg created mesostics on Satie's name and works from lines of text selected by IC a program by Andrew Culver that replicated the chance processes of the I Ching."
Her observations on the reader-revealed meaning of this work are also of interest as regards "the whole room":
"The First Meeting of the Satie Society, while conceptually the work of Cage, was written through the convergence of several humans and software -- and reflects of a multiplicity of (not entirely human) voices. Cage's emphasis on the readers' use of the work points both to the importance of process (that art extends beyond its completion by the artist) and to user participation (in creating additional meanings through use)."
Last week, working on the writing array for "the whole room like a picture in a dream, it was a pleasure to add variables from Dorothy Richardson's Interim, in particular, her references to narrative-disclosing toys. For instance:
"....the sound of the paper scraping over the little wooden roller as the printed scenes came round backwards or forwards, and plunged into descriptions of deep views of the insides of cathedrals in sharp relief in a clear silver light, mountains, lakes, statuary in clear light out of doors..."
"Do you remember looking at the kaleidoscope? I used to cry about it sometimes at night; thinking of the patterns I had not seen. I thought there was a new pattern every time you shook it, for ever. We had a huge one with very small bits of glass. They clicked smoothly when the pattern changed and were very beautifully coloured..."
As the arrays in "the whole room" are augmented, the words moving between Dorothy and Virginia continue in an extraordinary allusive dialogue. Last week, I entered these words from Virginia's short story, "Haunted House" (written a year or so after Dorothy's Interim was serialised in the Little Review, which at the time was also -- until Post Office charges of obcenity -- serializing Joyce's Ulysses):
"The window panes reflected apples, reflected roses; all the leaves were green in the glass. If they moved in the drawing room, the apple only turned its yellow side."
In my forthcoming paper: "'A WAY IS OPEN' Allusion, Authoring System, Identity, and Audience in Early Text-Based Electronic Literature" ( in Dene Grigar and James O'Sullivan, eds,, Contexts, Forms, and Practices of Electronic Literature) I write:
"Allusion is a fragile concept for working artists. We saw a work 10 or 20 years ago and remember it vaguely. The work of John Cage and the Fluxus artists lying in the background, not always acknowledged but always there; Fluxus alluded to for years in the continuing creation of boxes as containers for words. The work of Sonya Rapoport in the San Francisco Bay area, instilling the idea of computer-mediated installation in the collective mind; icon-laden stamp art from Ed Higgins, echoed in the interface for A Party at Silver Beach; the way video artist Joan Jonas integrated myth and life; her video I Want to Live in the Country (And Other Romances) alluded to in the concluding "Song" of its name was Penelope -- although if I hadn't told you this you would never know."
March 26, 2017
It was another intense week of writing/coding; the epic Facebook retelling of the chapters of Social Media Archeology and Poetics concluded with Gary Larson's chapter on "From Archaeology to Architecture: Building a Place for Noncommercial Culture Online"; a plan to create a manageable website in conjunction with the book was finally set in motion; the reading for the Social Media Narrative: Issues in Contemporary Practice resource continued -- and the whole was punctuated with library interludes.
Immersed in "the whole room like a picture in a dream": Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf Writing, I worked primarily on the Dorothy and Alan array, with brief excursions into the reading and writing arrays. In the library rare book room, I read a small treasure of a book: Dorothy Richardson, John Austen and the Inseparables (London: William Jackson Books, 1930). It begins with a foreword by the illustrator Austen -- who was a close friend of Alan Odle -- in which he writes:
"It should be the artist-craftsman's job to make his own book -- not with his hands -- the machine will do that labor for him -- but with his brain and eye --using type, printing, binding, and engraving, in his own way to serve his own idea of beauty of form. Thus only can he really work. No one else can do it as he can for it is his job."
Other than briefly documenting a shared exhibition, Dorothy's text does not directly address Alan, but serves instead to increase the respect for the work of book illustrators and for the book itself as a responsive, companionable object:
"And thus it is that although the book yields its treasure not directly in a single eyeful but extendedly in the course of a prolonged collaboration between reader and writer, it remains humanity's intimate."
"...mobile and companionable, allowing itself to be carried in the pocket to the ends of the earth."
Dorothy's intense privacy, as well as Alan's expression of his life and ideas only through the graphic arts, have made this array challenging. But in the library, I found last week a letter to a Spanish publisher ", ("Data for a Spanish Publisher, reprinted in Dorothy Miller Richardson, Journey to Paradise: Short Stories and Autobiographical Sketches, edited by Trudi Tate. London Virago, 1989) which included a few words about her husband. Addressing what he brought to her life as a writer and the overcoming of misgivings in their shared artist-writer's marriage, her words appear throughout the output of the Dorothy_Alan array:
And in various biographies and introductions -- Rosenberg, Fromm, Gregory, Hanscombe -- I found descriptions of both Alan and Dorothy, which I am adding to the Dorothy and Alan array. A few are in the example below. Note that the "word sketch" version of this array still appears in "the whole room" interface, but (not here but from within the whole room), if you click on "a window with just the right north light", a more "word-painterly" version is generated.
This week I was also very happy to receive the news that my presentation of as if the memory was a song: From Ireland with Letters will be at Other Codes / Cóid Eile -- The First Galway Digital Cultures Initiative Conference at the National University of Ireland, Galway this May. Thus, I returned yesterday to the final editing of this work -- rereading the whole both with some pleasure at how this electronic manuscript situated ballad is created with words -- and with dismay at a few remaining rough passages. Onward...
March 14, 2017
The snow is still falling fast outside my window. Breakfast this morning: coffee; apple cider; an apple cider doughnut. I was up late last night, rereading Quentin Bell's Virginia Woolf, a Biography.
A series of library interludes began last week. Primarily, I'm enhancing the Introduction to the Rutgers Camden DSC panel on Social Media Narrative: Issues in Contemporary Social Media -- with an initial annotated resource of books, papers, and works that are of interest in teaching and learning in this field -- beginning on Saturday with Volker Eisenlauer's A Critical Hypertext Analysis of Social Media (London : Bloomsbury Academic, 2013), a study of the role of Facebook's algorithms on user-generated text.
And, for "the whole room like a picture in a dream": Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf Writing, last week -- the week that Maria Mencia's #WomenTechLit, which includes my paper on "its Name was Penelope, a Generative Hypertext", went to press -- I went to the library in search of Rebecca Bowler, Literary Impressionism Vision and Memory in Dorothy Richardson, Ford Madox Ford, H.D. and May Sinclair (London; NY: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016).
From what I had seen online, this reference contained a surprising quote from a circa late-1924 or early-1925 letter that Dorothy wrote to Bryher. This letter is in the Yale Beinecke Rare book and Manuscript Library's Dorothy Richardson Collection papers but not findable in Fromm's Windows on Modernism (the primary source I have been using for Dorothy's Letters). The quote, which I verified (at least per Bowler, p. 224) in the Firestone Library, concerns the then available 5 volumes of Proust's À la recherche du temps perdu.
"I cut all those 5 vols piecemeal, leaving them all over the room, and read them in the same way, taking up the first handy vol. and opening at random. At last the whole hung and hangs, a tapestry all round me. It is I see now the tapestry of James -- only immeasurably deeper and richer and although threadbare in patches it does what J. 1/4 tap necer [sic] does. Lets through the light."
What? As testified by the many letters in Windows on Modernism that refer to copies of À la recherche, it is not unlikely that Dorothy and Alan had several sets, probably at least both the original French and Scott Moncrieff's translations. Nevertheless, Dorothy's action is surprising.
Contingently, a reference to random reading in To the Lighthouse (1927), appears from time to time in the output of reading.html. In the example below, Mrs Ramsay reading from Grimm is the last quote:
In the examples below, Dorothy's words to Bryher appear in the first output, and Virginia's words in To the Lighthouse appear in the second output.
Considering the circles they traveled in, it is likely -- although I have not yet located evidence for this -- that both Dorothy and Virginia were familiar with Tristan Tzara's "To Make a Dadaist Poem" (circa 1920). Proust's connections with Dada are interesting but are outside the scope of the whole room, although perhaps not outside the history of generative hypertext.
Although, in the main, it has not been my practice to document conjectures that arise in the course of composing "the whole room", I would like to do some writing on the relationship of Richardson's writing practice to electronic literature approaches.
Meanwhile, the reading array now concludes the notes for the whole room. And in the code for the whole room, Dorothy and Virginia continue reading and writing forever...
March 5-6, 2017
There is a letdown, a restless minor key depression that follows the completion of a work. The creation of the initial build for "the whole room like a picture in a dream": Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf Writing came sooner than unexpected.
I had anticipated that this work would include ten generative arrays, but when I wove the six I had started into the interface page, the whole room was -- for my vision -- perfect. Reading will continue. Variables will continue to be slowly added to each array, but more arrays should not and probably will not be added to the primary interface.
In restless response, during the week, I went to a coffee house to begin the reading for the resources and bibliography section that will be attached to the documentation of the Rutgers Camden DSC Social Media Narrative: Issues in Contemporary Practice panel. I continued to post to the informal epic roll-call of the chapters in Social Media Archeology and Poetics that is taking place on Facebook. And I went for short walks in the winter woods. But all the while I was considering "the whole room like a picture in a dream"..
And all the while, beginning with the Cornwall array, I am working on verifying and standardizing the marginalia index.
The reading at the core of my work on the whole room was begun as a response to the central reading practice in the lives of Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf, but although some references to reading appear in the "writing" array (see output from the writing array below), it seemed as if there was no place for the planned-but-not-yet-begun "reading" array. After much consideration, I decided to create a reading array in the center of the "notes" section. Existing outside the whole room, it will lead readers back into the work itself -- just as Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf's reading led into their writing practice, just as my own intense reading of their work and lives permeates "the whole room like a picture in a dream".
But what happened to Cressida?
Initially the character of "Cressida" was to provide a narrative framework. Several versions of who she was and how this would be done (including some versions never set forth in this notebook) were contemplated. But -- although I had thought that a third voice would be needed to interpret the information -- as the work developed, it became clear that the voices of Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf did not need this. Nevertheless, traces of Cressida remained in the marginalia index.
On Saturday morning, these "Cressida" passages were re-keyed as "glosses".
February 18, 2017
While the snow fell last week, I worked on creating Build1 of "the whole room like a picture in a dream": Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf Writing.
A print-book-like interface was initially envisioned and diagrammed. But -- not happy with the static way in which this iteration flowed -- without first plotting the process, I began to alter the interface over and over -- until it was what I wanted. Not my usual way to work, but for "the whole world like a picture in a dream", it was appropriate. By the time the interface was finished, I was detained in that universal coder/writer's experience where, in order to merge the writing and coding, I was so immersed in the coding environment that the real world became what I was working on.
Build1 opens with the following screen of text:
Since a diagram was not created before I recoded the interface, afterwards I informally diagrammed what became Build1 of "the whole room like a picture in a dream": Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf Writing" as follows:
The sixth array in The Whole Room was created in the same time period as the coding for Build1. It concerns the impact of the weather on the writing lives of Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf:
February 5, 2017
As I prepare to put the in-progress arrays online, some questions and answers about the output arise.
1. To create the output above, both Dorothy's and Virginia's words are in the same array. The code instructs the computer to select 7 variables at random and print them. The code does not stipulate that Dorothy's words alternate with the words of Virginia, although that can happen. The code does not stipulate that one section is all Dorothy's words and another section is all Virginia's words, although that also can happen.
2. At this point only words from Dorothy and Virginia's works of fiction are entered in the Orlando array. (see output examples above) My intention was to also use their letters and diaries. But now I'm not sure. The next step is to introduce phrases or ideas from their letters and diaries to see what happens. This could be done either in a separate array or as an expansion of the existing array.
3. At present, the concluding prompt for each array leads to another array. For instance, in the Orlando array, the concluding prompt -- "wading out through the green shallows" --leads to the Cornwall array, and in the Cornwall array itself, the prompt leads back to the Orlando array with the words: "To refuse and to yield".
Initially I planned to focus the reader on movement between arrays, but it is now clear that the reader needs a clear interface choice of whether to continue generating output pages from the array s/he is at or to move to another array. How to do this eloquently has not yet been determined.
4. Five arrays have now been set in motion; 1. Cornwall, 2. Dorothy and Alan, 3. Virginia and Leonard, 4. writing -- and 5. the Orlando array on which I'm currently working.
At least 10 arrays will eventually be completed, but I have enough to put the work online. However, it should be noted that none of the five in-progress arrays are finished. All of them will continue to have variables written to them. All of them need an attached list of sources. Copyediting, verifying quotes, and code cleaning are needed. And there is some design work needed to pull the-whole-so-far together.
I will start on this next week.
January 21, 2017
Waiting for the arrival of a print copy of Orlando
I began intense reading sessions for the whole room in June, 2016.
In general, I alternated reading/rereading books and letters by Dorothy and books, diaries, and letters by Virginia. Much of the reading was done on short walks in the woods in the spring summer and fall. In addition to the sheer pleasure of woods reading, reading in the woods allowed an isolation from other tasks -- no laptop, no household distractions, no email, no other books.
The idea for the whole room began with a debt I owe Dorothy Richardson. It happened in this way: while I was writing Uncle Roger, I was also thinking about where I would take this new writing, and I began to read Pilgrimage, starting with Pointed Roofs. If you look at the transition in my writing from Uncle Roger to its name was Penelope, the influence of Richardson's work is very clear.
Dorothy, because of her eventual isolation with Alan in Cornwall, and because of her reluctance to write much (outside of Pilgrimage) about her life, is difficult to approach. It would be of interest, I thought, to contrast her writing practice -- and the core parts of her life that contributed to it -- with the writing and life of her contemporary, Virginia Woolf.
My vision for the reading was to immerse myself in the lives and writing of these two extraordinary women writers. Thus, while I was reading, I did not usually select passages to eventually use in the whole room. That would have changed the nature of the reading. Although this process necessitated a return to the works when I began to choose variables to enter into my code, it insured that what I selected reflected a knowledge of the whole experience.
All the books I read could have been put into a full text database, and the desired keywords searched, but for this creative writer's project, that would not have effectively conveyed what I sought to convey in "the whole room like a picture in a dream": Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf Writing.
Contingently, I found that computer text versions of my sources were -- at least for this writer's project -- not as immersive as the print book versions. Perhaps this is a tribute to the print interface, the binding, the paper pages, and the holding of the book solidly in one's hand -- in the way that Dorothy and Virginia intended their works to be experienced.
Virginia's Orlando was on the bookshelves of a cabin my grandfather built on a New Hampshire Lake. In the evening, I would peruse the books on these shelves in search of a book to take to my bunk to read at night -- while the waves lapped on the shore of the lake, and the woods were dark. In this way, as a child, I read Orlando several times. Although I found parts of it confusing, on the surface I experienced it as a swashbuckling tale. like others I read at that age. (The Three Musketeers for instance).
It was time to reread Orlando.
After reading/rereading Virginia's letters to Violet and the "Jean" section of Dorothy's March Moonlight (among other sources for the "to refuse and to yield" section of the whole room), because I was not feeling that I should buy any more books, and because I have not wanted to use library books for this project, I tried to reread Orlando online. However, I did not find this satisfactory.
Yesterday, I ordered a print copy.
Christmas has passed again; a new year has begun. There is snow in the woods. More snow is falling. At this time of year I usually begin a new notebook, but I am immersed in the creation of "the whole room like a picture in a dream": Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf Writing and do not want to separate the composition of this work into two notebooks. Thus, the 2016 Writer's Notebook has become the 2016 - 2017 Writer's Notebook.
In this holiday time period, a treasure arrived from England via New Hampshire: the April 1924 issue of Adelphi (edited by John Middleton Murry) with Dorothy Richardson's article "On Punctuation."
And driven by the words of the writers themselves, the writing/ coding for the "writing" section of "the whole room like a picture in a dream has been intense. ("But in the slow, attentive reading demanded by unpunctuated texts, the faculty of hearing has its chance, is enhanced until the text speaks itself." (DMR, "On Punctuation", p. 990 )
When planning this section, initially I thought it would be effective to use two columns. Like this:
There was indeed a certain amount of elegance in the way that -- generated repeatedly -- Virginia's text, which opened with "fading and falling, in soft low pleats" fell down the page in harmony with Dorothy's text, which opened "with a gentle, steady, throbbing undertow". But -- perhaps because the need to move between the two columns broke the immersive quality -- the echoing dialogue between the two word streams was not working in the way I envisioned. Thus, I returned to generating the words of these two women together in one column. Like this:
This "writing" array throws out new interpretations every time I run it, and I thought that as soon as this array was in progress, I would be ready to begin putting the work online. However, because the Alan and Leonard arrays are in progress, but the Orlando array ("To refuse and to yield") has not yet begun, I will begin "To refuse and to yield" first.
December 23, 2016
Long days immersed in grading extraordinary final projects.
Walking in the woods.
Working this evening on a build1 title page for "the whole room like a picture in a dream": Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf Writing.
Since for many years it has been my practice to consider the Internet as an online studio, usually by now I would have posted the code and the narrative so far. But this work is not up yet.
Partially this is because the composition is/will be a lengthy process, and it hasn't reached the point where I have felt comfortable releasing it. Maybe it is because there is a reluctance to make this intimate view of the lives of two women writers public. Partially it is because I should begin the "writing practice" array before I begin releasing "the whole room like a picture in a dream". The "writing" array will be central with branching choices into other arrays, such as the partially composed Alan and Leonard arrays. Maybe it is because I haven't "cleaned" the code yet.
The thing to do, is to work on the "writing" array over the holidays -- beginning this weekend. Then I will begin to release "the whole room in its preliminary state.
One of the most pleasurable aspects about the composing of this work is that it fulfills my tendency for complexity and in depth writing over long periods of time -- while at the same time, it will not appear to the reader as an epic work. In fact, because the output of this work is generative, no reader will see the same work, and many readers may generate only a few screens. Some may not understand what "generative" means.
At the moment the cover page is followed by the quote above, and then the reader plunges into generative output from the Cornwall section.
The two images of output below are examples; neither is likely to repeat again.
December 19, 2016
The packing and unpacking of boxes. Moving across town. The disruptive process mitigated by the pleasure of arriving at a new home.
Student proposals for final projects are innovative and interesting. Preparing the Facebook-situated panel on Contemporary Social Media Narrative for publication in content | code | process is proceeding.
And in quiet moments, the surprising contrasts between Virginia Woolf's The Voyage Out and Leonard Woolf's The Village in the Jungle.
Creating variables for the Leonard and Virginia array has begun slowly, but, although it is only a beginning, I am not unhappy with the initial results:
November 24, 2016
On the eve of Thanksgiving, I did some work on the variables in the Alan and Dorothy array for "the whole room like a picture in a dream" -- with the result that the generated word pictures began to emerge in the way I envisioned:
Then, in the code I pulled in a parallel column in order to display Alan and Dorothy and Virginia and Leonard side by side. As I feared, the screen was too crowded with the source documents listed in columns. Instead the template for the combined Alan and Dorothy and Leonard and Virginia output will look something like this:
November 18-19, 2016
Leonard Woolf's Beginning Again; Alan Odle's drawings for Candide. Foggy day.
F or "the whole room like a picture in a dream": Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf Writing, the Alan Odle output, of what is planned to eventually be a two-column generative array, is working in a preliminary build. Much more information needs to be entered; editing is necessary. But this first build is enough to see that the "Alan and Dorothy" output has a certain amount of resonance.
W hile working on "Alan and Dorothy", I was preoccupied this week with the information art roots of "the whole room like a picture in a dream" in my practice. By which I mean the echoes of earlier information art in the way "the whole room... is created. This is important, because although there are contingencies, this work is not primarily DH-informed but rather stems -- as does much of what I do -- from an earlier practice in my work.
The first large scale information art in my work was the Technical Information  installation at Site in San Francisco in 1981.(partially funded by the NEA) The similarities to "the whole room are not apparent in the photograph above; they are only apparent in the process. Briefly, the process was as follows:
In order to create an artist's portrait of certain aspects of contemporary research, I desired to fabricate an installation that was built with technical information. To gather the information, I acquired an avatar, President of OK Research, and in this and other ways collected hundreds of pieces of technical information. Then I studied them and extracted concepts and phrases. With these phrases, I constructed a series of art works that used them in different ways, such as drawings on ricepaper, hung on newspaper racks, and electromechanical artists books. The information itself was displayed on shelves I built around the gallery; gallery goers were invited to read and rearrange the information.
At the core of this process was the reading of information, the extracting of phrases, and the use of these phrases to create artists books. At the core of "the whole room like a picture in a dream" is the reading of primary sources, the extracting of phrases, and the use of these phrases to create a work of generative literature.
1. Technical Information is documented in a peer-reviewed paper "OK Research, OK Genetic Engineering, Bad Information: Information Art Describes Technology (Leonardo, 21:4, 371-375, 1988)
November 5, 2016
L ate October and the first week of November were:
1. writing into the Alan Odle array of "the whole room like a picture in a dream": Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf Writing
2. reading Leonard Woolf's Downhill all the Way and rereading Virginia's letters -- from July 8, 2011 (a month or so after Leonard returned from Ceylon) to August 9, 1912, the day before their marriage.
In Alan's column of the Alan_Leonard data structure, to begin with, there are Dorothy's mentions of Alan in her letters  and Alan's illustrations for Mark Twain's 1601, A Tudor Fireside Conversation, a private edition of 450 copies. published in 1936. (My source is a facsimile published in 1969 by Land's End Press.)
Alan was working on his illustrations for 1601 as early as 1931,  Thus, the veiled shocking commentary on the shared lives of artists, which seemingly underlies several illustrations in 1601, should be considered in tandem with Dorothy's focus on her pre-Alan lovers (both male and female, thinly veiled through the eyes of Miriam) in her just published Dawn's Left Hand.
It is continually surprising how the generative structures of "The whole room..." allow such material to effectively surface and resurface in different combinations.
A nd despite reoccurring flashes of of dissonance and jealousy, in the material for the Alan_Leonard arrays it is notable that once in a while artists find each other and are able to work together in harmony in their separate corners. Dorothy and Alan maintained a productive and interesting relationship, from their marriage in 1917 to his death in 1948, and her letters offer glimpses into shared pleasures -- a Bank Holiday spent all day in Padstow drinking ginger beer in the midst of flower shows, shooting galleries, swing boats, snake charmers, and the sound of the merry-go-round;  the last night of "The Great Heat Wave", when they drove to the top of a Hampshire borders hill, spread out a supper party, drove back at 60 miles an hour arriving home just before the milkman arrived.
In a letter to Bryher, Dorothy relates that they were adopted by a white kitten, who jumped between their laps in ecstasies of purring. 
In a letter to P. Beaumont Wadsworth, Dorothy observes that
"A.O[.] is working in his corner. He has a window with just the right north light. I have a little southwest corner, with a lattice whose sill is haunted by a robin. Wilderness all around us..." 
Next, I will be looking at Alan's drawings for Candide.
1. Gloria G. Fromm, ed, Windows on Modernism, Selected Letters of Dorothy Richardson, Athens and London:] University of Georgia Press, 1995.
October 22, 2016
While I considered exactly who Cressida is, and how her voice will operate in the narrative, and how to represent the differences between Alan Odle and Leonard Woolf, this week, I added more variables to the Cornwall array in the code for "the whole room like a picture in a dream": Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf Writing -- each time, running the work a few times see what occurred. An exhilarating experience.
I anticipate that "the whole room like a picture in a dream" will be available online sometime in December. At that point it will probably only include two or three arrays, but perhaps like generative literature itself, "the whole room is a never-ending work.
In the creation of generative literature, it is of interest to track how each group of additions to the code alters the impact of the generated results and to consider the role of the random (technically pseudo-random) algorithms in the process.
At this point the output consists of
1. an in-progress colored-coded index that allows identification of the source of each text. Eventually each of the entries in the index will link to a page with all the lines (keyed by that entry) that are included as variables in the code for "the whole room". That way, all the authors of the texts will be properly credited.
2. a code-generated date stamp that at this time appears in the output in different places. (and in the figures below is appended at the top)
3. a screen of generated variables. Below are three screens that were created at different times on the morning of October 22. 
4. a closing prompt, which will vary within each page. "To refuse and to yield" -- currently closing the generated Cornwall pages -- is from Orlando. At the moment, this prompt leads nowhere, since none of the variables in the Orlando array have been entered.
1. Currently for each run, from 26 variables, 9 are selected at random from the code. The authoring system is an expanded version of the prize-winning code I wrote for the Neukom Institute for Computational Science at Dartmouth.
October 8-9, 2016
On Friday, a day when my wifi went down, and our dependence on the Internet in so many aspects of our lives became apparent, I went in search of wifi access to make sure that students knew of my lack-of-access, and then -- isolated -- ploughed into the initial code for "the whole room like a picture in a dream": Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf Writing. Today, there was the thrill of a tapestry, that I have been reading for/planning for many months, appearing like magic on my laptop screen.
In The Not Yet Named Jig, I created a fiction writer's version of Monte Carlo simulations (it is not strictly speaking how Monte Carlo simulations are used in the scientific community) to build a world model of Mystick Side. In "the whole room like a picture in a dream": Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf Writing, the writing practice of two experimental writers, who worked in approximately the same time period, will be explored in a poet/coder's version of Monte Carlo simulations. The examples here are not representative of the way the final work will appear, but rather are output from a very preliminary build of the code and variables.
A few notes:
1. The display of this work is planned to be one everchanging page; with more page-arrays generated at the will of the reader. However, the underlying arrays of variables will be immense. The lure of this generative manuscript is that I can continue writing unseen texts into the code, but the reader will not encounter an obviously lengthy work. As more variables are written into the code, there will be less repetition. And in different arrays, the tone will vary.
2. Eventually, an opening page will display search-generation options.
3. Sources of texts are color-keyed. Perhaps, the colors should be a little darker.
4. Cressie's voice -- which documents/interprets certain parts of the narrative -- is not yet well developed. Additionally, who she is has been redefined.
5. At the moment, clicking on the title phrase for the opening page -- the waves breaking on the shore -- will generate a new combination of variables from the arrays in the Cornwall category. The closing prompts will vary within each page. "To refuse and to yield" is from Orlando. At the moment however, this prompt leads nowhere, since none of the variables in the Orlando Arrays have been composed.
6. At this rate, it will probably take a year to finish the coding and the words. It is a year to which I look forward.
When I began to input data last week, the first thing I became aware of was that although Dorothy Richardson was isolated in a converted chapel in Cornwall when she wrote Pointed Roofs, in this work, there is no evidence of the ocean and beaches that dominate the Cornwall landscape.
But when output from the small of amount of data entered so far, juxtaposed this statement with the landscape of Cornwall as described by Virginia Woolf in Jacob's Room and Sketch of the Past (To the Lighthouse is not yet included in in the data) and by a paraphrase of Dorothy's words in a letter to Alan, I began to hear the ocean and the waves pounding on the beach in some of her sentences in Pointed Roofs.
"...and the music came again, pianissimo, swinging in an even rhythm. It flowed from those clever hands, a half-indicated theme with a gentle, steady, throbbing undertow..." (p. 44)
Soon I will add this passage to the Cornwall array and see what happens when the output is regenerated.
to be continued...
September 22, 2016
Last week, as online discussion intensified, my students posted their thoughts about how early social media differed from contemporary social media, and conceptualized the creation of world model-based narrative on Twitter. We will virtually go next week to a surfing event in California, a ranch in the desert, an imaginary playground, a re-imagined historical Interactive Fiction cave, a backyard portal, a football field, a craft beer festival, several houses, a utopia where racism doesn't exist, a city street, a thrift store, and Arkham Asylum, among other places. The course I'm teaching for the Rutgers Camden Digital Studies Center is Social Media Narrative: Lineage and Contemporary Practice. It is going to be an interesting semester!
On days when it seems as if we spend our lives online, small escapes into the countryside -- with a book or a picnic or pen and paper -- are necessary respites. This is not a new practice for me, although the places are different. Its name was Penelope was written on small beaches along the Northern California. The Yellow Bowl was initially written on small beaches on the shores of Point Pinole; it was finished in the New Hampshire woods. Much of The Roar of Destiny was written on camping trips to the California Gold country, and Dorothy Abrona McCrae was written on camping trips in the Sierras.
This week in Virginia Woolf's letters, the success of Hogarth Press was a continuing pleasure. Writers came to visit and departed, followed by Virginia's letters, as the Woolfs collaborated with painters Vanessa Bell and Carrington and arduously hand-printed, hand-sewed, and hand-bound a series of extraordinary book works, To name only a few: Katherine Mansfield's Prelude; Virginia's Kew Gardens, T.S. Eliot's Poems and E.M. Forster's The Story Of The Siren. For a maker of artists books and experimental literature, the process, experienced vicariously in woods and late-night-reading, was fascinating.
And it is not an exaggeration to relate that when letter after letter led up to the birth of her niece, Angelica Bell, on Christmas Day, 1918, the suspense was surprising.
Also this week, the edition of Dorothy Richardson's Pointed Roofs -- acquired for the introduction by Stephen Ross and for Vincent Brome's interview with Richardson -- arrived. [edited by Ross and Tara Thomson, Broadview editions, 2014]
As regards the reader's knowledge of Miriam's character, Ross observes that:
"It is impossible to adopt a moralistic perspective, then, since the narrative itself rejects any such vantage, and since the novel requires a 'collaborative reader,' as Richardson put it: one who contributes to the narrative rather than simply receiving (or rejecting it." [p. 14]
This is what I saw when I read Pointed Roofs in the year that I began its name was Penelope.
September 6, 2016
A t about the same time as the U.C. Berkeley Library Exhibition, that included its name was Penelope, concluded last week, I revisited my paper "its name was Penelope: a generative hypertext". (For Maria Mencia's #WomenTechLit, which looks to be an interesting 2017 collection of writing by women writers and scholars of electronic literature)
In the paper, I discussed in some detail the medieval Chaunce of the Dyse; John Cage's Indeterminacy; and Marc Saporta's Composition No 1. This was appropriate for a paper that focused on the development of generative hypertext.
Now, re-immersed in Dorothy Richardson's Pilgrimage, I recall thinking (almost thirty years ago when I began to compose its name was Penelope) that each lexia would be the writing equivalent of a photograph. I chose a photographer narrator because at that time I had been making artists books, in which the narrative units were predominantly photographs.
The gift from Dorothy Richardson -- of expressing the narrator's vision in terms of the writing equivalent of visual art -- remained with me when earlier this year I began reading for "the whole room like a picture in a dream": Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf Writing
In its radical immersion in what the female protagonist sees -- often to the exclusion of consummated narrative tension -- for the reader who approaches it for what it is, Richardson's Pilgrimage presents isolated yet connected images that remain vividly in memory. After rereading Backwater, as if it were a painting by Mary Cassatt, in my mind I continually saw Richardson's word picture of small children clinging to Miriam's dress on her last day as a teacher at a North London School. She is holding the school's gift "the tightly-rolled silken twist of the umbrella heavy in her hands".
In Backwater, I still remember the dining-room where the blinds are down, the red curtains are drawn, and firelight shines on "the brilliantly polished davenport in the window-space". In this room, there is a cracked oil painting of Shakespeare, "the dark old landscapes round the little walls...the solid silver tea-service, the fine heavily edged linen table-cover, the gleaming, various, delicately filled dishes, the great bowl of flowers, the heavy, carven, unmoved, age-long dreaming faces of the three women with their living interested eyes..."
Even though the need to convey the changing role of women in society is differently informed 100 years later, Dorothy Richardson -- because of the extraordinary text-made images that she created and the idea she pioneered of narrative unfolding with only what the female narrator sees and thinks -- continues to be relevant. And I am finding that studying her writing practice not in isolation but also in splendid conjunction with Virginia Woolf's writing practice is important, particularly for women poets and writers who work in the fertile territory between experimental writing and computation.
This week, at home, I am revisiting Richardson's Backwater and Honeycomb. Last week, I carried The Letters of Virginia Woolf (vol two) with me across the fields and into the woods.
August 20-21, 2016
"gray tiles sloping steeply" (dmr) "long pauses come between"(vsw)
A s the summer draws to a close, amidst walking and reading along the rivers, creeks, and canals of New Jersey, amidst coffeehouse and late night reading, I am now so immersed in the parallel lives of Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf that when I read the letters, diaries, and works of one woman, sometimes I visualize what the other woman is doing. This is precisely where I wanted to be at the end of the summer, although there is still reading to do.
On the surface, initially, it seemed that the connection with Virginia's half-brother Gerald Duckworth, the founder of Duckworth press, who published the bulk of Dorothy's Pilgrimage, as well as Virginia's The Voyage Out and Night and Day, might have led to occasional meetings of Dorothy Richardson with Virginia Woolf.
Dorothy continued to publish with Duckworth, who was also the publisher of D.H. Lawrence, among many others, but Virginia's not unexpected opinion of her half-brother -- expressed in her diary entry of March 18, 1918 with, among others, the words "...when I thought of my novel destined to be pawed & snored over by him..." (VW Diaries, v. 1 p. 129) -- probably was a factor in the founding of Hogarth Press.
Whether or not, they ever met, Woolf and Richardson were very conscious/wary of each other's existence.
Virginia writing in her diary:
"...I refused to do Dorothy Richardson for the Supt. [The Times Literary Supplement] The truth is that when I looked at it, I felt myself looking for faults; hoping for them..." (Nov 28, 1919. VW Diaries v.1. p. 315)
About 18 years later, (the gap is significant) writing to Bryher, Dorothy begins:
Herring has asked me to review Virginia Woolf's new book, thereby putting me in something of a dilemma..." (1937, DM Letters, p. 330)
"these afterthoughts always came" (dmr) "like a lantern stood in the middle of a field"(vsw)
"the whole room like a picture in a dream": Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf Writing is planned as a narrative data structure, that will apply Monte Carlo methods in the exploration of the literary practice of two women writers. However, because quoting at length from diaries and letters is problematical as regards copyright, the arrays of data housed in the program will -- in addition to quoted words from their works -- be written in the voice of Cressida, a fictional young women writer who is obsessed with their lives and writing.
It is not my intention to embroider on the known lives of Virginia or Dorothy -- except in instances where Cressie is clearly speculating. However, given the contemplated method of retrieval, by no means will one session with this work produce expected comparisons.
This much is certain, "the whole room like a picture in a dream": Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf Writing is an experimental woman writer's exploration of the lives and work of two legendary experimental women writers. It will bear no ressemblance to Jackson Mac Low's jealousy-laden rape of Virginia Woolf's work in The Virginia Woolf Poems.(Burning Deck, 1985)
I t has been a week of the pleasure of opening the box of the author copies of Social Media Archeology and Poetics (MIT Press, August 2016) and the pleasure of "publishing" the Rutgers Camden DSC Sakai site for "Social Media Narrative: Lineage and Contemporary Practice".
Additionally, the opening section of each canto of As if the memory was a song: From Ireland with Letters has this week received an image.
"singing softly at random" (dmr) "their voices floated" (vsw)
August 8, 2016
T he struggle to make the words and authoring system work together in precisely the way I desire occurs and occurs in my writer's notebooks. But passage and fiddler's passage, From Ireland with Letters cantos three and four -- where in three-part polyphonic text the lives of Liam O'Brien (passage) and Máire Powers (fiddler's passage) separately emerge -- represent one of those fortuitous times when exactly what I wanted to do worked. Translating passage to an HTML5 environment was interspersed in the past few days with course prep for Social Media Narrative: Lineage and Contemporary Practice and reading for the whole room like a picture in a dream.
Infused with magic realism, passage intertwines glimpses of Liam's former girlfriend ("dressed for work in high heels and a red jacket"); the representations of women, which 16th century arts writer Francesco Bocchi describes on his path through the Uffizi (Pomona, dressed in finely sculpted cloth, wearing a garland on her head, Leda, "fearful, blushing", modestly covering herself with one of her hands); Liam's memory of Máire Powers playing the Irish fiddle; streams flowing down the New Hampshire mountainside where Liam has been hiking; Bocchi's description of the water flowing from Giambologna's Oceanus fountain in the Boboli gardens: ("There are springs of wonderfully clear and limpid water here; the water is distributed by conduits and flows beautifully through the garden"); and the words with which 19th century sculptor Hiram Powers describes his design of a fountain for Capitol Park:
"It may represent Venus rising out of the sea. Over her head will be a sheet of water resembling a parasol and above that revolving jets throwing several thousand streams 20 or thirty feet into the air. It would be impossible to describe the beautiful effect it would produce. The streams are so small that in the sunshine there will be a constant rainbow -- and so smooth is the parasol that it looks like a convex mirror, and by its outward force will protect the figure entirely from the falling mist."
Near the beginning of passage, on his way to his home -- across the street from Hiram Powers' home and studio on the Via delle Fornaci, (now via de' Serragli) -- Hawthorne crosses the Arno on the Ponte di Santa Trinita and observes that "...Along the shore of the river, on both sides, as far as we could see, there was a row of brilliant lamps, which, in the far distance, looked like a cornice of golden light; and this also shone as brightly out of the river's depth..."
As passage concludes, the view from the Ponte di Santa Trinita is repeated:
"And all along the banks of the Arno,
If you click on this phrase, Máire Powers' practice session in fiddler's passage begins with "Easy and Slow".
As the reading of volume 1 of Virginia Woolf's diary concludes, and the rereading of Dorothy Richardson's Pilgrimage begins, it has been a summer, I observe, where:
"Every few minutes, the musicians switch to a new tune,
The engraving of the Powerscourt Waterfall is from Samuel C. Hall and Anna Maria Hall, Ireland: its scenery, character &, v. 2, London: Jeremiah How, 1842. p. 202. the original is by British landscape painter, Thomas Creswick.
Francesco Bocchi, The Beauties of the City of Florence, a Guidebook of 1591. London, Turnhout: Harvey Miller Publishers, 2006.
Hiram Powers' words are quoted in Richard Wunder, Hiram Powers, Vermont Sculptor. 1805-1873, Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1991. p. 78. Sadly, this fountain that Powers designed for Capitol Park in Washington, DC was either never created or partially created but no longer extant.
Hawthorne's words from The French and Italian Notebooks are quoted in Sirpa Salenius, Set in Stone, 19th-Century American Authors in Florence, Padova: il prato, 2003. p. 43-44
Dorothea E. Hast and Stanley Scott, Music in Ireland, Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture, NY, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. p. 3
July 23-24, 2016
It was a slow moving week in which amidst shimmering heat and continuing uncertainties of life, there were absorbing parallel intervals of writing practice.
And ohhh the summer reading: Friday morning in a coffee house with volume 1 of The Diary of Virginia Woolf; week-long late night rereading of Mrs Dalloway; and a Saturday morning exploration of ink-based photolithographs of Cornwall.
In immersive reading sessions, the narrative frame slowly emerged.
There was a woman -- a contemporary who traveled on the edges of their circles -- who was obsessed with the writing and the lives of Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf.
She -- in "the whole room like a picture in a dream", her name is Cressida -- is the source of the notes that I have been fictionally and unexpectedly bequeathed. Her presence as observer is not unusual. Exploring the life of Dorothy Richardson, for instance, if not Bryher, we are all Peggy Kirkaldy, Bernice Elliot, or Pauline Marrian.
Cressida's notes are projected to be primarily based on known facts. As has occasionally been my literary Monte Carlo Method practice (The Not yet Named Jig for instance) other than encounters with the interfaces produced by my authoring system, the reader will not discern my own voice once s/he enters the work.
Nevertheless, how I create the data structures arrayed within the code and how I decide to enter Cressie's notes into these data structures will influence the output. It is also not unlikely that what Cressie has recorded reflects issues in her own life.
The image above is composed of details taken from Views of the British Isles 1890-1900, created by the Detroit Publishing Company and available on the online catalog of Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
I n the same time period of the reading of the lives and writing of two extraordinary women writers, the re-coding of From Ireland with Letters continues.
As of this week, not only is the HTML5 environment for fiddler's passage, in place, but also the new code for the interface and for all the lexias for part I of Begin with the Arrival are completed. It would not be entirely accurate to say that this was a pleasurable process. At one point, it descended into the recoding of over 100 lexias. And yet when these tasks were completed -- first in the fiddler's passage practice session and then in the opening of Begin with the Arrival -- the results were satisfactory. There is still some timing and textual editing to do.
Re-coding Begin with the Arrival, part II -- in which Cromwell's invasion of Ireland is grimly replayed -- will be more difficult to confront.
Contingently I am pleased to report that my paper "From Ireland with Letters: Issues in Public Electronic Literature" has been accepted for publication by the British-based Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies.
As Loss Pequeno Glazier observed, writing in Postmodern Culture, in 1997 :
"An electronic poetics is a poetics. Like any other poetics which recognizes system -- be it breath, a controversy of texts, or a nexus of interests -- system is a determining factor. A poetics also involves a particular engagement, or set of engagements, with its issuing 'authority' and its technology. The public life of a poetics has, perhaps, been nowhere more visible, with its incessant transmission, than in the electronic poetries. An electronic poetry is a public word, projected across a public world, across systems, itself as system."
Glazier, LP. Jumping to Occlusions. Postmodern Culture; 1997. May. 7:3.
July 10, 2016
A mong other things, I worked this week on the authoring system for "the whole room like a picture in a dream". The work will be built with multiple arrays of keyworded phrases; code that generates these phrases in different ways; and an interface that allows the reader some control over access to the content
Exploring the issue of reader control or lack of control of electronic narrative, I revisited the original BASIC and UNIX versions of Uncle Roger.
The authoring system I wrote for Files 1 and 2 of Uncle Roger imposed a hypertextual database searching interface that was appropriate in a work in which a female narrator explored the culture of a male-centered techno-culture. (At the time, female narrators were otherwise nonexistent in computer-mediated narrative.) The authoring system for File 3 moved the narrator, Jenny, from constrained observer of the male chip industry culture to the illusion of taking control of her life in a word processing pod.
Thus, Files 1&2 ask the reader to enter the culture of the chip industry with reader-controlled database searching. Then, in file3, reader control is withdrawn as s/he sits with Jenny in front of a terminal, where her memories are randomly generated, and she finds it difficult to concentrate on the work.
Note that because Jenny is an unreliable narrator with singular vision, her role is not as submerged as a surface reading would indicate.
T he reading for "the whole room like a picture in a dream": Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf Writing will take much longer than originally envisioned. However, there is now the anticipatory pleasure of plunging into Virginia Woolf's diaries and of reading/rereading every volume of Dorothy Richardson's Pilgrimage. At times when the details of life sometimes seem insurmountable, this reading is continuously rewarding.
Filtered from this reading, details of the lives and writing of Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf will be written into "whole room". The data will be extensive. Unpredictable narratives of different lives and extraordinary writing will be generated for as long as the reader desires. Although the narrative data in "whole room" will be very different, these words I wrote in the classic 1991 paper for Uncle Roger are relevant to the reader experience as it is currently conceived:
"Each file is a pool of information into which the reader plunges repeatedly, emerging with a cumulative and individualized picture. Thus the narrabase form uses a computer database as a way to build up levels of meaning and to show many aspects of the story and characters, rather than as a means of providing alternative plot turns and endings." 
1. Judy Malloy, Uncle Roger, an Online Narrabase", in Connectivity: Art and Interactive Telecommunications, ed: Roy Ascott and Carl Loeffler, Leonardo 24(2) 1991, 195-202.
July 3, 2016
I ssues around the sustainability of works of electronic literature arise again, as I return to recoding fiddlers passage in an HTML5 environment.
However we as writers, artists, and scholars approach this issue, it should be noted that when we enter the realm of hybrids of literature and coding, we are partially on the territory of software-centered disciplines, where such updating is a part of the culture. Contingently, we can assume that -- as when Apple updated the Mac OS -- the software industry will continue to ignore the needs of artists and writers.
On this hybrid territory, as techno-creatives we can accept that we are embarking on a lifelong practice of learning and updating. But at the same time, aesthetically (as defined by our individual visions) we can and at times should choose to define and preserve our works by the look and feel of the era in which they were created.
"The film sculptures run continuously. It is as though the audience saw a play, a mythical play, like a Greek play or a symbolic play like Shakespeare and then it continued playing in a room somewhere and occasionally the audience would open the door to that room and would immediately recognize the play whether they chose to stay for part of it or not and the audience could close the door and say, oh yes, that's HAMLET or that's ANTIGONE and the plays would just continue playing endlessly and they would know that about those rooms."
A s regards, From Ireland with Letters, recoding was envisioned from the beginning when I deliberately chose to use HTML4 transitional instead of HTML5 -- knowing full well that I would have to recode the work by the time the whole was finished. The reasons for this choice were that HTML5 was not set in stone when I began From Ireland with Letters, and that as a storyteller I chose to begin with a mark-up language in which I had mastery.
Simulating an Irish fiddlers practice session that begins with "The Galway Girl", segues into the "Mason's Apron Reel", and ends with a not yet named jig, fiddlers passage is a work of polyphonic electronic literature that is written to my fiddlers_passage 3 stave lexia/node score. The authoring system encompasses more than the timing of released words; it also relies on color changes and the meaning and flow of the words to create the illusion of time and content shifts in a musicians's practice session.
fiddler's passage can be experienced either by simply waiting for the text to change, or by clicking on any one of the three lexia spaces, or by a combination of these ways of reading. When the work has been played through once, it can be replayed. Since the text in fiddler's passage moves fast, replaying it allows concentration on different "tracks" of the work.
In the recoding process, I may decide to somewhat slow the tempo, but recoding will not change the look and feel of the work. Primarily it will move the work from HTML 4 transitional to an HTML5 environment, a necessary task as once again I succumb to the software culture of updating.
Competing this week with my immersion in Dorothy Richardson's fascinating letters from Cornwall during World War II, with the designing of an improvised writer's colony dinner and an online conference to accompany my fall Rutgers Camden DSC class in Social Media Narrative, and with the beautiful New Jersey countryside, the work of recoding fiddlers passage is progressing slowly, although it is not difficult.
June 19, 2016
I n the early days of exhibiting electronic literature, sometimes after an exhibition, we - the poets ourselves -- showed up to dismantle installations which (with the guidance of the curators and with occasional floor-space-boundary wars) we ourselves had created. There was closure and comraderie in this exhibition closing activity -- as floppy disks were inserted into un-archival plastic sleeves in black binders and as computers were loaded into our vehicles.
These days, curator-installed shows generally reflect a more coherent curatorial vision, while on the Internet, contemporary electronic literature keeps running long after the exhibition has closed.
As I wrote this, I remembered seeing Deborah Whitman's film sculptures in her cabin at the MacDowell Colony in 1992. The work that I saw, Deus ex Machina/Closet of Angels, integrated continuously running super 8 film loops into wooden structures. Her vision for this work was of "allegorical machines with whimsical features which involve the audience in poetic narratives".
I talked her into documenting Deus ex Machina/Closet of Angels for Leonardo Electronic News, where she wrote:
"The film sculptures run continuously. It is as though the audience saw a play, a mythical play, like a Greek play or a symbolic play like Shakespeare and then it continued playing in a room somewhere and occasionally the audience would open the door to that room and would immediately recognize the play whether they chose to stay for part of it or not and the audience could close the door and say, oh yes, that's HAMLET or that's ANTIGONE and the plays would just continue playing endlessly and they would know that about those rooms. Except in the film sculptures, the plots continue to change and the audience becomes characters within them, even if their stay is brief."
Later, she was Fargo Deborah Whitman. She died in January, earlier this year.
At the University of Victoria in Victoria, British Columbia, the Festival exhibitions that were a major part the 2016 Electronic Literature Organization Conference closed on June 12.
There was not for me (and probably also not for many other artists and poets) the closure of dismantling the installations ourselves, but many of the works, including The Roar of Destiny (which was in the sound exhibition curated by John Barber) are still playing on the Internet.
The Roar of Destiny was a poetic response to an era when as I wrote in the documentation:
"...the lives of those of us -- who worked virtually and thus spent days and nights online -- were altered, as black & white, green & black , or yellow & black text metamorphosed into vibrant dense arrays of competing information, and virtual communities were displaced by moated castles in a sea of entrancing new work." The audio recordings created for EL02016 read the lexias as unmeasured scores, where the peripheral words are read in counterpoint or harmony with the bolded lines of poetry. As the reader explores the work, they appear as unexpected surprises. "
Listed below, (if you click on them you can hear the sound) they are:
T his week in the woods, alongside a creek, alongside a canal, and on Friday in a coffee house, I slowly began reading Virginia Woolf's The Voyage Out -- while at home I continued with Dorothy Richardson's letters.
A summer punctuated with such interesting reading is a memorable summer -- recalling the sunburned, sea-soaked evening reading of the summers of childhood.
And, for the purposes of what will be entered in "the whole room like a picture in a dream": Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf Writing, practicing/remembering very-slow-reading is a pleasure in this Internet age.
June 12, 2016
For writers and artists, every object that we send away from our studios has its own story. When that object arrives at an archive, from our point of view, much of that story is lost. Yet, from a scholar's point of view, the unraveling of the mysteries of archives is compelling. Although, what scholars decipher may not be precisely the story that we intended -- what scholars and critics see in our archives sometimes enriches even our own views of our work.
..................................................the conclusion to my ELO paper on "A Poet's Perspective on Archiving Electronic Literature"
Amidst the enchanting Twitter storm of ELO2016, last week there were Dorothy Richardson's letters. 
Not surprisingly, her letters to Bryher and H.D. present an entirely different view of her life than the recluse/outsider writer that too many biographers present. Books, the reading and sharing if of modernist literature -- to be documented soon -- are central to her correspondence. But also, there are:
Parties. "That was a famous little party in Maiden Lane. I greatly enjoyed it, though rather wishing I had gone in my overall rather than Violet's lace, donned for a subsequent gathering" (1936 to Bryher, p. 319)
"Emma Goldman couldn't come on Monday, has chosen another day in spiky Victoria handwriting" (1924 to Bryher, p. 104)
Battles with the elements in rented Cornish cottages.
The impact of films and radio
And always the surprising togetherness of Dorothy and Alan. (Switzerland p. 84 Paris p. 101, Cornwall p. 196 and continuing)
W hile the energy of electronic literature played around me in social media, and I paused to join Dene Grigar, Matthew Kirschenbaum, Stuart Moulthrop via Skype to talk about the role of archiving in the electronic literature infosphere, I read and reread the letters that Dorothy and artist Alan Odle exchanged while she was in Cornwall and he was in London. They are formally addressed -- "Dear Miss Richardson", "Dear Mr. Odle", and yet there is an underlying tension, and you know what they really mean.
The way the narrative of "the whole room like a picture in a dream": Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf Writing" is currently envisioned, a layer of narrators will frame it -- beginning perhaps with the notes of a young women obsessed with the lives of two women writers and seguing into the code of a digital humanist to whom they were bequeathed.
Gloria G. Fromm, ed, Windows on Modernism, Selected Letters of Dorothy Richardson, Athens and London, University of Georgia Press, 1995. In my work itself, I cannot quote much from Dorothy's letters. But it was the same situation with Hiram Powers' letters, which I read on microfilm loan from the Smithsonian. It is the experience of reading such letters that is important.
May 29, 2016
In a poet's tasks of late spring, much has been done; much remains to be done. Build2 of the 20th anniversary edition of The Roar of Destiny has been zipped to ELO2016. The "minor edits" for my paper "From Ireland with Letters: Issues in Public Electronic Literature" have been completed and submitted. I am working on the course materials for week six of Social Media Narrative. For my annual coverage of ELO2016, I am reading with interest the works in the Festival. This year the 2016 Electronic Literature Organization Conference (ELO2016) will be held at the University of Victoria in Victoria, British Columbia from June 10-12.
And so, as often in the ELO days of June, it is time to begin a new work -- this year "the whole room like a picture in a dream": Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf Writing".
Contingently, it is a pleasure to record in this notebook that Another Party in Woodside won a second prize in The Neukom Institute for Computational Science at Dartmouth College's first annual Prizes in Computational Arts. "These competitions aim to inspire innovations in computational methods that generate artistic products, such as literary, musical, and visual art," the Institute observes. Indeed, the authoring system, another_party -- described in the April 10 entry in this notebook and inspired by this Dartmouth competition -- will be a core algorithm for the whole room like a picture in a dream.
For whole room, a large database will be created with two major streams of data. One will concern Dorothy Richardson; the other will concern Virginia Woolf. As they do in the Prologue to From Ireland with Letters, pseudo-randomly-produced phrases in the marginalia spaces of the resultant electronic manuscript will access arrays of variables.
The interface will allow continual use of the marginalia to generate short algorithmically-created documents that weave together -- using color-coded text to distinguish their voices -- elements from the Dorothy and Virginia databases. Although it has been evolving for 30 years, the origins of this authoring system, can be traced back to the initial algorithms I wrote for Uncle Roger. And in particular to the BASIC version in which Boolean combinations of keywords resulted in pages of lexias that (at that time) readers often printed out.
The results of this process in the whole room are intended to be readable and interesting -- while at the same time continually seeking convergences and differences between two writers who were instrumental in shaping "stream of consciousness" modernist literature.
Earlier in this notebook, I described the content in this way:
Separately, Virginia Woolf and Dorothy Richardson are sitting at writing desks at a certain (as yet to be determined) moment in time. Begin with descriptions of their writing desks, follow with places in their lives; beautiful Cornwall, for instance. The code will only generate a page or a few pages at a time, and only a small amount of the texts will be visible in each generated version. Hidden narratives will lurk beneath the surface and slowly emerge: lovers, husbands: H.G. Wells, Vita Sackville-West, the wild differences between Alan Odle and Leonard Woolf.
As the work evolves, I foresee more emphasis on their individual writing processes and theories, as well as on their views of the lives of women writers.
A writer's notebook is not a finished essay or paper. In addition to thoughts that contribute to the shaping and writing of new work, a writer's notebook is likely to contain elements of the writer's life. Lately, these have concerned the changing environment in the Princeton New Jersey area where I have been walking.
This week, the green along the streams and canals was so intense, that I was reluctant to record it in this notebook. But these walks are respites from the intense work of computer-mediated writing and coding -- along the way, allowing consideration of the process from a different viewpoint, as well as the peaceful woods reading of print books. Such is the magic of the local woods streams and rivers.
And suddenly after the rains and the gray days, the canals and rivers and streams, the meadows and the woods of New Jersey are otherworldly, and it feels like walking in a dream.
May 14, 2016
.....even in an era when interactivity is taken for granted,
"...Our goal is to create compelling new forms of interactive art and entertainment that provide more deeply autonomous, generative and dynamic responses to interaction. A major thrust of this work is advanced AI for videogames, including autonomous characters and interactive storytelling. By viewing AI as an expressive medium, our work raises and answers novel AI research questions while pushing the boundaries of the conceivable and possible in interactive experiences..." - Michael Mateas Associate Professor Computer Science Department, University of California, Santa Cruz
"Whatever it may be in the larger socioeconomic and cultural sphere, artists have chosen to inflect prosaic interactivity to their own expressive ends. Metainteractive aesthetic strategies -- like poetry, with its rhythms, assonances, and figures -- does not merely transport us to another scene or world but is itself an experience charged by semantic and formal values of expression. Interactivity is not just an instrument or a perhaps irritating interval between clicking and getting somewhere else but an event that brings corporeal and cognitive awareness to this increasingly ubiquitous feature of the contemporary world." - Margaret Morse, "The Poetics of Interactivity" 
Revisiting definitions of interactivity this week, I began with Stephen Wilson's SIGRAPH93 paper "Aesthetics and Practice of Designing Interactive Computer Events." Steve was a Professor and Chair of Conceptual Design and Information Art at San Francisco State University -- and a colleague friend since we first meet at the NCGA Conference at San Jose State in 1989. I last saw him at the "Knowledge Hacking" exhibition at Worth Ryder Gallery at U.C. Berkeley in 2010, three months before he died of cancer.
What I remember is sitting down beside him. In front of him was a computer screen with NASA's photographed-from-space "The World at Night" image -- that dramatically contrasted the light in the first and second worlds with the dark of the electricity-less third world. I watched as he showed me how the action of a spinning globe changed the dark in the third world to light and sunrise. Steve was very ill and could not stand up. The only way to talk with him was to sit beside him and "Power up the World" which was the name of the work. It was the last time I saw him. He died in January 2011.
I had been exploring documentation of the #dawnchorus project as part of the research for my Fall 2016 Rutgers Camden University Digital Studies Center course, so when I was thinking about the interactive potential of social media narrative, what came into mind was Steve's early work in exploring interactivity. The paper I was looking for was still on his website at http://userwww.sfsu.edu/swilson/papers/interactive2.html -- as if he had never left us and would show up at Roger Malina and Christine Maxwell's next Holiday Season party.
In a rapidly changing infosphere, this paper was over 20 years old. Nevertheless, what I was looking for was Steve's summary of the ways to create interactivity in new media environments. Yes, there were arguments in the community about the importance of levels of interactivity in the new media arts. Nevertheless, it is of interest to review these words:
"Presence: At the most fundamental level most media events call for the basic decision to participate. Someone has to turn on the computer and start the program. After this choice there is no other choice but to terminate or change selection.
Simple Choice: The user can select a particular event to engage - for example, which magazine article to read or which TV channel to watch. Analysts suggest that this choice process is at some times converted into an interactive experience - e.g. the channel surfers who use their remote controls to change channels.
Choice of Options: In these interactive events, the user is systematically presented with arrays of choices - for example, in a branching program.
Search for Interaction Possibilities: In some systems, such as some hypermedia, the user must actively search to find the gateways that lead to further events.
Contributory: In these events, the user can add to the array of choices available to the system - for example, by importing new materials or by establishing new links among system elements.
Authoring: The user can actually add new capabilities to the system"
I doubt that it is possible for contemporary practitioners to so explicitly define interactivity. But, even in an era when interactivity is taken for granted, there is a value in continuing to explore the different ways in which it is implemented.
1. Margaret Morse, "The Poetics of Interactivity", in Women, Art, and Technology. Judy Malloy, ed. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2003. pp. 16-33.
April, 30 - May 1, 2016
T he Roar of Destiny is an electronic manuscript and not a work of hypertext literature in the classic sense. Nevertheless, because the entire World Wide Web is a hypertextual environment, anyone who creates on the World Wide Web is likely to be using hypertext affordances in some way. Contingently, the linking systems which control the navigation of this electronic manuscript are of interest from an authoring-with-hypertext affordances point of view.
My overall strategy for linking among the internal lexias was in each lexia to create an initial link that went to the next-written lexia in the same array. At least two other kinds of links were generally included: a link that in some way paralleled the narrative and a link that abruptly moved the reader into a seemingly unrelated node in another array. Note that the links near the ends of the descending link choruses abruptly displace the reader -- as time and place are altered in technicolor. At times this may be a dislocating/displacing experience, but that is the vision of The Roar of Destiny.
In the process of recoding The Roar of Destiny, I have been surprised at how many times I purposefully did not follow my initial linking strategy for this work. But as Jim Rosenberg observes in Word Space Multiplicities, Openings, Andings:
"Classical hypertext algorithms have a clear identity: the user knows what is supposed to happen; indeed it would be taken as a sign of bad design if the user were not to know what is supposed to happen. But in the literary world, incomplete knowledge on the part of the reader has been an age-old artistic variable -- the novel derives much of its power precisely from the fact that the reader doesn't know what is going to happen."
T he awkward issue of what to disclose/what not to disclose in documenting the narrative elements of a diffuse work of electronic poetry has occurred off and on in the pages of these notebooks. In the case of The Roar of Destiny, I have not as yet been inclined to clarify the narrative elements of a work of poetry.
As Carolyn Guyer and Martha Petry wrote in Izme Pass:
"When a woman tells, oh veiled voice, a story."
In the Visual Editions version of Marc Saporta's Composition No. 1, Saporta's introductory note -- that appeared in the English language version, (translated by Richard Howard and published by Simon & Schuster in 1963) -- is not included. Saporta reveals very few details about the narrative content in this brief, elusive note. However -- as he succinctly sets the narrative in the atmosphere of the occupation of France during World War II and in the covert presence of the French Resistance in this environment -- he subtly addresses questions that might linger in the reader's mind. For contemporary readers with little experience of what living in France was like at that time, Saporta's note is increasingly important. He concludes with these words:
"Whether the story ends well or badly depends on the concatenation of circumstances. A life is composed of many elements. But the number of possible compositions is infinite."
I am considering how Saporta's covert documentation strategy might situate the reader more clearly in the narrative content of the new edition of The Roar of Destiny -- without revealing enough to destroy the poetic nature of the work.
Jim Rosenberg, Word Space Multiplicities, Openings, Andings - Collected Essays and Papers in Digital Poetics, Hypertext, and New Media, Morgantown, WV: Center for Literary Computing, 2015. p. 179
Like the travels of a mythical poet's manuscript that are described in Matthew Kirschenbaum's Rosenbach lectures, a good record of where my writer's notebooks (2009 - ) are located online does not exist. Even Google is unhelpful in this respect;it is difficult to know what to search for.
Carolyn Guyer and Martha Petry, "Izme Pass," Writing On the Edge, 2.2. Spring 1991. Quoted in Barbara Page, "Women Writers and the Restive Text: Feminism, Experimental Writing and Hypertext," Postmodern Culture 6:2 (January, 1996)
Marc Saporta, Composition No. 1, NY: Simon & Schuster, 1963) np.
April, 16, 2016:
T he Roar of Destiny (1995-2000) was written for Internet audiences. At the time, I was working for Arts Wire, a national program of The New York Foundation for the Arts. While the World Wide Web, where I worked in the course of long days online, expanded exponentially, I lived in an area where there were deer, raccoons, possums, coyotes, hawks and views to the hills of Northern California. On the weekends, I drove to the Sierras and camped and wrote by clear rivers and lakes.
Twenty years later, The Roar of Destiny still exists on the Internet -- as a reflection of experience of the merging of real life and virtual experience in the early days of the Web. The new version will be public sometime in late May.
Because each lexia is a complex poetic experience of environment and virtual environment, The Roar of Destiny took almost five years to write. It was/is interfaced with a dense structure of phrase links that echoed/echo the Web environment. Story-bearing lexias -- each composed of a narrative fragment that sometimes runs decisively in the center of the screen and sometimes is raggedly merged with peripheral words and hyperlinked phrases -- radiate from six arrays. The reader is asked not only to explore meaning in this experimental poetic system but also to navigate between color-coded densely-linked narratives, which range from the black of trauma, to the white of virtual employment, to the blue green of valley and mountain environments.
When, earlier this year, I undertook translating this work into a contemporary framework, I should have remembered that among the reasons it took so long to complete were that each lexia screen is composed like a small interactive text-based painting; that the linking structure is complex; and that the way the whole works together must be constantly kept in mind. I also should have considered that because each lexia was going to edited separately, the translation process would be an intense and time-consuming process.
Nevertheless, having completed an initial build for the new interface, edited and recoded the lexias in three of the six arrays, and set in motion the recording of new readings, I am on track to have the 20th Anniversary Edition of The Roar of Destiny ready for the Electronic Literature Organization's annual conference, this year to be held at the University of Victoria in Victoria, British Columbia, from June 10-12.
M emorable this week: I am happy to begin working on the syllabus and course materials for the course in Social Media Narrative: Lineage and Contemporary Practice, which I will be teaching online for the innovative Digital Studies Center at Rutgers University Camden this comng fall.
April, 10, 2016
T he equivalent, perhaps, of how scores for early music were circulated, in this era of the-archive-as-an-interface-to-electronic-literature, early works -- their histories retold in narratives of the circulation of floppy disks -- appear on display screens in lectures and videos of lectures.
Wasting Time was published on a floppy disk, which was included in a boxed special edition of the Atlanta-based literary magazine, Perforations.  Following, as it did, his narrative of the journeys of a mythical poet's word processed manuscripts, Matt's scholarly and eloquent exploration of three versions of Wasting Time -- held in three separate archives: the Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke, the Maryland Institute for Technology and Humanities, and the Media Archaeology Lab at U.C. Boulder -- revealed textual variations, traces of other erased works, and a casual REM note that does not appear on every disk.
At home, listening to /watching the lecture video, I recalled that I wrote-over the early versions and did not keep drafts until the work had progressed from draft to build. And in addition to the version distributed in Perforations, I sent copies of Wasting Time to colleagues, who probably sent me works in return. I kept no log that documented to whom I sent copies or what version they received.
When the Wasting Time disks magically appeared in the Rosenbach lectures, in my memory, there was a long ago isolated cabin at 7,000 feet in the Colorado mountains. There was a another snowstorm. We had to plow the dirt road ourselves. I would not be able to make it into Boulder to work on computerizing the BBRC library. I also remembered the evening of that storm. In the living room, there was an old leather couch with an oak frame, a fireplace, and a table. Outside it was dark. It was half a mile to the home of the nearest neighbor. White snow was falling thickly just outside the window.
A writer's memories are the hoarded gold of the world models of narrative, I observed last week as I sat in a cafe reading Virginia Woolf's A Sketch of the Past.
1. AFTER THE BOOK, Writing Literature - Writing Technology, edited by Richard Gess. Perforations (number 3, Spring/Summer 1992)
"the whole room like a picture in a dream"
T he generative Another Party in Woodside is now running as often as the reader desires.
The authoring system, another-party, allows for entrance of text fragments by keyword -- in such a way that when the work is randomly generated, the keywords shape the content into a semblance of meaning. It is not a new approach; I used it myself in various ways. (to retrieve content in Uncle Roger, to generate a collaborative document in Making Art Online) But I like the clarity with which this system integrates keyword array structures with random text fragment generation.
Note that although repetition is needed to create the looping night-after-laced-with-dreams in Another Party, the next build will reduce repetition. (in other ways than the "shuffle" used in some passages of Another Party in Woodside)
While I was rereading Virginia Woolf's A Sketch of the Past, I was thinking that rather than use pre-existing texts, it would be more effective to write new content directly into the another-party authoring system. And so, immersed in the differences between Virginia Woolf's life and the life of Dorothy Richardson, the idea -- of using this authoring system to create a generative work that interweaves details of their lives and work -- emerged.
Separately, Virginia Woolf and Dorothy Richardson are sitting at writing desks at a certain (as yet to be determined) moment in time. Begin with descriptions of their writing desks, follow with places in their lives; beautiful Cornwall, for instance. The code will only generate a page or a few pages at a time, and only a small amount of the texts will be visible in each generated version. Hidden narratives will lurk beneath the surface and slowly emerge: lovers, husbands: H.G. Wells, Vita Sackville-West, the wild differences between Alan Odle and Leonard Woolf.
The title -- "the whole room like a picture in a dream": Dorothy Richardson Writing -- was devised when this work was only about Richardson; a somewhat different title will be needed. The histories of their writing desks is a solid place to begin.
M eanwhile, at the core of April's work is the Twentieth Anniversary edition of The Roar of Destiny. Last week, I recreated the interface in an HTML5 environment. (without the frames of the original work) The reformatting of 232 lexias has begun. Recording new sound tracks has begun. A new microphone arrived on Saturday.
In the 20th Anniversary edition, the muting of traces of the early web (frames interfaces that should never have been abandoned for reasons of searching) and the altering of a visual art aesthetic (that exists uneasily on the web) is not done without considerable thought. (or without an understanding of the consequences of long-ago-painting-over of Giotto's murals because of subsequent "advances" in paint color technology and in depicting perspective and human anatomy)
I am not writing over the early Roar; only time will tell which version is "better". Nevertheless, the current World Wide Web environment is not primarily an artists' space, yet works of literature exist in that space -- side by side with the extraordinary array of content, which The Roar of Destiny continues to echo.
March 28, 2016
T he index for Social Media Archeology and Poetics (MIT Press, July 2016) is nearly finished. I have, in the course of a checkered moonlighting career, indexed various volumes of The Annual Reviews. It is not an unfamiliar task, and there is always that moment -- a pleasure for an information artist -- when the whole comes together in a long list of names and ideas that succinctly interfaces a book that took several years to create.
In enjoyable interludes, I prepared a guest lecture on electronic literature publication histories for Roger Malina's seminar on experimental publishing at UT Dallas, walked in the woods, and plunged into a work I have been thinking about since January -- Another Party in Woodside -- which will be generated using sentences and sentence fragments from the original A Party in Woodside.
In the process, three questions arose.
1. What is the role of writing in generative poetry? Are the words in the array of variables as important as the code? Contingently, in pursuing this pure form of electronic literature, it is of interest to look at the shifting coder/poet backgrounds of the early creators. Computer scientist Christopher Strachey created an algorithmic foothold with the M.U.C. loveletters in circa 1954. Without a computer, Fluxus poet Emmett Williams created the algorithms for "IBM" a few years later in 1956.
Using words from Kafka's The Castle, information scientist Theo Lutz created Stochastische Texte in 1959. Around the same time, artist/poet Brion Gysin migrated the cut-up method to computer-mediated poetry and created an incisive permutation of literary theory in five words. "POET'S NO OWN DON'T WORDS" was coded by programmer Ian Sommerville.
And so it goes, as generative poetry is passed from coder to poet and back again in the early years of electronic literature.
2. The web version of A Party in Woodside does not convey (as well as the BASIC version) the experience of the aftermath of an uncomfortable party. Would it be possible to interface the web version differently? What if I created a version of A Party in Woodside that stored and generated fragments of the texts -- using arrays based on their original keywords? Would the looping dream/memory mixed immersion I wanted to convey be more vividly represented?
3. What is the role of repetition in generative literature?
To begin to answer these questions, while I was working on the index for Social Media Archeology and Poetics, I wrote some initial code for Another Party in Woodside and entered the sentences and sentence fragments as variables keyed by the original keywords, such as "dreams", "food", "men in tan suits":
As regards the issue of repetition, although for the most part I have not yet limited the number of times a sentence or sentence fragment can be repeated, in some arrays I used a Fisher-Yates-like shuffle that shuffled the variables and printed them without repetition. Not surprisingly some of the dream like quality of the party was lost. Nevertheless, currently, I am using a "shuffle" in the code to implement keywords that are sparsely used, such as "Miss Gorgel":
After Another party in Woodside is completed, the next step is to link (without underlines so that they will not be obvious) each variable to its corresponding lexia in the original work. In this way, Another Party in Woodside will be repurposed to create an intuitive index to the original party. I don't intend to do this until later this year, perhaps around the time of the 30th anniversary of the social media publication of A Party in Woodside, which began, as documented in my archives, on Art Com Electronic Network on December 1, 1986.
March 12-14, 2016
T here are weeks when -- in the midst of the details of page proofs or the enjoyment of preparing a lecture on electronic literature publishing history, or the surprise of seeing my own work flash on my laptop, live screened from Doe Library at U.C. Berkeley  -- the spaces of time for writing/coding and thinking about writing/coding are guilty pleasures.
This week, these seemingly different streams brought several issues to the forefront. One was:
In creating works of electronic literature. where the narrative is predominately housed server-side, and the reader may never discover the entirety of the work, how much does a writer reveal when a reader enters a complex virtual world model? This question could be answered differently for every work of electronic literature/for every writer's vision. Normally, I would be approaching this issue through the lens of computer-mediated interface, (or "about"files) but this week the role of accompanying print/artists book objects has been in the forefront.
Two initial thoughts:
1. The Lost Treasures of Infocom (1991) is packaged like an artists book with floppy disks, (in my version IBM XT or AT) and a plethora of "feelies", including maps and book length documentation. This celebratory package provides a treasured interface to the Infocom years of text-based Interactive Fiction. (IF) And yet -- even for those of us who explore IF not to solve puzzles but for the clarity and surprise of unexpected writerly detail -- The Lost Treasures of Infocom's existence as an explorable object stands in opposition to the mystery of approaching, for instance, the computer-mediated world of "The Great Underground Empire" of Zork, which begins with nothing but these words and the classic IF prompt ">":
Nevertheless, as an entrancing print interface to a series of computer-mediated narratives, if first the reader reads the maps and guides and then sets them aside when she/he steps onto the trail, The Lost Treasures of Infocom enables a satisfactory setting-out-on-an adventure experience.
2. Contingently, after I created the BASIC version of A Party In Woodside in 1987, I ran a search that would print out all of the lexias on continuous-feed card stock. (Lexias that were keyed by more than one link were printed out x times, where x was the number of links associated with that lexia.)
I then created a painted box with index tabs for each link/keyword in the narrative.
This experimental artists book, which Dene Grigar showed at Cal last week, is a cogent example of how narrative content -- that the reader would ordinarily retrieve from the mysterious unseen server-side databanks where the lexias that comprise A Party in Woodside are stored -- could be made more visible and accessible.
However, to my way of thinking, one would not experience a party by knowing ahead of time what would happen. The reader's individual experience of A Party in Woodside, the interactivity that is a part of the reading process of hypertext literature, are at the core of the immersive qualities of my work.
Nevertheless, exploring how electronic literature can be approached in associated print/object structures and how artist book translations can contribute to the dialog of the differences between electronic literature and print literature is always of interest.
1. in the opening Symposium to an exhibition curated by Alex Saum-Pascual and Élika Ortega that explores the relationships of English language electronic literature with Spanish and Portuguese language works. March 11, 2016 - Sept 2, 2016, Doe Library, UC Berkeley.
March 6, 2016
from "The First Network Email" by Ray Tomlinson
"The first message was sent between two machines that were literally side by side. The only physical connection they had (aside from the floor they sat on) was through the ARPANET. I sent a number of test messages to myself from one machine to the other. The test messages were entirely forgettable and I have, therefore, forgotten them. Most likely the first message was QWERTYUIOP or something similar. When I was satisfied that the program seemed to work, I sent a message to the rest of my group explaining how to send messages over the network. The first use of network email announced its own existence"
Quoted in the introduction to #SocialMediaPoetics. The full article is available at http://openmap.bbn.com/~tomlinso/ray/firstemailmain.html
"In this age of ubiquitous contemporary social media, we may never again experience the first-time delight of virtually picking up a lamp to explore uncharted territory in BBN computer scientist Will Crowther's 1970s Interactive Fiction, Adventure. We may never again experience the magic of participating in Bill Bartlett's 1979 Interplay, in which -- as artists in Canberra, Edmonton, Houston, New York, Toronto, Sydney, Vancouver, and Vienna discoursed one after another online -- printouts of their continuing dialogue on computer culture emerged from terminals in every city that participated.
Nevertheless, early social media is set forth in this book with the premise that the documentation of pre-web social networking history is of interest to understanding and participating in contemporary social media -- present and future."
Judy Malloy, "The Origins of Social Media" #SocialMediaPoetics, MIT Press, July 2016
In the page proof and indexing stages of editing Social Media Archeology and Poetics (hashtag #SocialMediaPoetics) -- as they are finally gathered together in the dignity of pages in a book -- ideas, platforms, affordances, and the narratives of the pioneers march definitively before my eyes.
Along the way, following multiple paths, the words of the narratives illuminate the origins of social media: network email inventor, Ray Tomlinson; Lee Felsenstein's account of the day that Community Memory was installed in Leopold's Records in Berkeley; Madeline Gonzalez Allen's mountain journey to a vision for community networking.
from "Community Memory: The First Public-Access Social Media System" by Lee Felsenstein
"A handmade poster, with psychedelic lettering, read 'Community Memory.' Inside the box was a teleprinter -- a Teletype Model 33 ASR that had gone through three years' service as a commercial time-sharing computer terminal. Urethane foam glued inside of the cardboard muffled the whirr of the teleprinter's motor and the 'chunk-chunk-chunk' of its print head.
Standing beside the terminal was a young person, dressed similarly to most of the students and other people entering the store. As they came toward the terminal, this person would say, 'Would you like to use our electronic bulletin board? We're using a computer.'"
#SocialMediaPoetics, MIT Press, July 2016
from "PLATO: The Emergence of Online Community" by David R. Woolley
Over time, ideas spread, evolve, mingle, and diverge. The social media landscape of today includes giants such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, alongside countless other platforms with an incredible variety of features and user communities. After decades have passed, it becomes difficult to trace the tangled roots of this phenomenon.
But the places we gather online today are all intentional communities. PLATO was an accidental one that emerged spontaneously in an environment created for other purposes. In 1970, few suspected that a human community could grow and thrive within the electronic circuitry of a computer. PLATO demonstrated that this is not only possible but inevitable."
#SocialMediaPoetics, MIT Press, July 2016
from "Community Networking, an Evolution" by Madeline Gonzalez Allen
"While backpacking through the San Juan Mountains, I came to a high-alpine jewel of a town surrounded by majestic peaks -- Telluride. I met Richard Lowenberg, and others from the Telluride Institute, and shared with them ideas about the Internet. I wondered: could this emerging Internet technology be applied in ways that could be of real benefit to communities? This would become the central driving question at the heart of my vision for community networking."
#SocialMediaPoetics, MIT Press, July 2016
from:"EchoNYC" by Stacy Horn
"By the time I got to my last year at ITP I still hadn't decided what to do with the rest of my life when someone on The WELL said, 'I heard you were going to start a WELL-like service in New York.' That had never occurred to me. 'Yes,' I immediately typed back, 'I am.' I spent my last semester writing a business plan and by the fall the new online service I'd started, Echo, was up in running. In early 1990, it was officially opened to the public."
#SocialMediaPoetics, MIT Press, July 2016
February 26, 2016
The work on reconstructing the BASIC version of its name was Penelope is finished. But just as I began to work on the interface for the 20th Anniversary edition of The Roar of Destiny, the page proofs for Social Media Archeology and Poetics arrived.
Page proofs bring the promise of imminent publication, as well as the stressful responsibility of deft correction. The lure of recoding The Roar of Destiny will thus wait a few weeks while the back and forth with contributors continues, and I plunge into the final once over of my own chapters.
In the midst of many details, I remembered the time when it became apparent that the early histories of social media that seemed so clear to me were not visible to those who had not lived through the days of the sound of the modem.
It was 2012 when -- beginning in my own library and in the library of the University of California at Berkeley -- I prepared the syllabus for the course in Social Media History and Poetics that I would teach at Princeton in the fall of 2013. I reviewed classic volumes, including, among many others Heidi Grundmann's Art Telecommunication; Roy Ascott and Carl Eugene Loeffler's Connectivity: Art and Interactive Telecommunications; John Quarterman'sThe Matrix: Computer Networks and Conferencing Systems Worldwide; Howard Rheingold's The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier: and papers and reports that ranged from and Casey, Ross, and Warren's Native Networking: Telecommunications and. Information Technology in Indian Country, to Pavel Curtis' Xerox PARC report on LambdaMoo to Steve Durland's "Defining the Image as Place, a Conversation with Kit Galloway Sherrie Rabinowitz & Gene Youngblood."
In archives throughout the world (including my own in the Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University), there were printouts from the past. However, much of the importance of early social media and its relationship with contemporary social media resided in the memories of the pioneers in the field. The need for their words was apparent.
This week, plunging into the final editing details that accompany the responsibility of editing a book, there were places in the texts where I paused because a writer's words so clearly expressed the origins and vision of social media.
To begin with, here are Robert Kahn's words from RFC 371. It is 44 years ago. He is talking about the first International Conference on Computer Communications, that would be held on October 24-26, 1972 in Washington D.C.
" I am organizing a computer communication network demonstration to run in parallel with the sessions. This demonstration will provide attendees with the opportunity to gain first hand experience in the use of a computer network. The theme of the demonstration will be on the value of computer communication networks, emphasizing topics such as data base retrieval, combined use of several machines, real-time data access, interactive cooperation, simulation systems, simplified hard copy techniques, and so forth. I am hoping to present a broad sampling of computer based resources that will provide attendees with some perspective on the utility of computer communication networks."
In the same RFC, Kahn also observes that "The social implications of this field are a matter of widespread interest that reaches society in almost all walks of life; education, medicine, research, business and government. All these areas will be affected as the field develops."
Robert Kahn, "Demonstration at International Computer Communications Conference," RFC 371, July 12, 1972.
The image of the original model 300-baud Hayes Smartmodem is from Michael Pereckas, Milwaukee, WI, and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license. His description is: "I spent many an hour watching these lights blink."
The sound of the modem is from the Internet Archive.
February 14, 2016
The 20th Anniversary version of The Roar of Destiny has been selected for exhibition under the auspices of the sound strand of the Media Art Festival, associated with the June 2016 Electronic Literature Organization Conference, in Victoria, BC. So the audio is an important component of the new work.
However, in retrospect, although I did add some of these reading-recordings to the original work itself, from an archival point of view, it is wiser to keep the original version as it was and create a new work that houses all the audio readings in conjunction with the lexias that they represent.
The writing for The Roar of Destiny began in 1995, but the year when The Roar of Destiny began to slowly appear in its current form on the World Wide Web, was 1996. In Silicon Valley, there was a continuing rush of energy as the Browser Wars began, and audiences flocked to the Internet. It was a time when Internet-situated creative work was in radical flux.
In this era of adjustment to the role of Internet-based communication and cultures in all of our lives, the contrasts between my own life as a poet, who likes to walk in the country, and the ten or so hours spent online everyday merged uneasily. As I wrote in my statement for RadioELO:
"The Roar of Destiny was informed by the early Internet adventure of living in a mountain cabin while I worked online on the Telluride Infozone and by memories of my other early Internet avatars: working online for Leonardo, Xerox PARC, and Arts Wire; living in the New Hampshire countryside, living near the Arizona dessert, living in the hills of Northern California."
Responding to the changed Internet environment The Roar of Destiny opens with a cover page that allows only one click: "reset". However, "reset" does not bring a quiet respite from the onslaught of multiple meaning-laden links, but rather confronts the reader with increasing complexity in the form of a dissolving and reassembling structure of meaning-laden links. Essentially -- echoing the contemporary Internet -- the reader is offered a bewildering array of hundreds of interface choices. Each one leads to a different lexia, that is read by following the bolded central words. while at the same time absorbing the peripheral words and links. "The reader, like the narrator", I wrote in the documentation, "is involved in a continual struggle between the real and the virtual -- between stark black-backgrounded paths that lead to despair and depression and bluegreen-backgrounded paths that follow beside clear mountain streams."
February 7, 2016
Early in the morning of February 4, when it was snowing a wet snow that clung to the branches of the trees, I began the completion of the reconstruction of the BASIC version of its name was Penelope. The following day, the entire reconstruction was made available to the Critical Code Studies Working Group. (CCSWG16)
Across the virtual way, led by David Berry, co-director of the Sussex Humanities Lab at the University of Sussex, a CCSWG discussion on the materiality of (and/or lack of materiality) of the original MAD-SLIP code with which Joseph Weizenbaum created ELIZA/DOCTOR and on the computer or computers on which it was created was in progress. As I moved between the Penelope recreation and this absorbing discussion, suddenly I was on the familiar territory of the era of MIT's role in the development of email. ELIZA/DOCTOR was created in the 1960's in an MIT laboratory complex, where by the early 1970s, over a thousand users of the Compatible Time-Sharing System (CTSS) were coordinating their research and exchanging information using MAIL, the email software developed by Tom Van Vleck with colleague Noel Morris in 1965.
Only on rare occasions do we as artists and writers occupy the same territory of the deeply-funded research laboratories, where the creator of ELIZA and the creators of a pioneering email system crossed paths. And yet in any discipline, circles of colleagues continue important. The photographs of the 1975 Oulipo gathering in the garden of François Le Lionnais -- where Raymond Queneau, George Perec, and Italo Calvino and others talked the future of literature/not literature -- come to mind.
The origins of its name was Penelope include paths in and out of Art Com Electronic Network (ACEN) on The WELL and the artists, artworks and ideas, I "met" on the way. Beginning in 1986, crossing paths on ACEN were, among others, the globe-spanning Planetary Network;  John Cage's First Meeting of the Satie Society; Fred Truck's AI-influenced Art Engine; Joe Rosen's early work in physical computing; Jim Rosenberg's spatial hypertext; and my Uncle Roger.
Only a few years later, ACEN founder Carl Loeffler looked to the future and emerged at the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University where before his premature death in 2001, he investigated telecommunications and virtual reality. 
1. Planetary Network was organized by Roy Ascott, Don Foresta, Tomaso Trini, Maria Grazia Mattei, and Robert Adrian X for the 1986 Venice Biennale. ACEN was one of the participating nodes.
My paths diverged in 1988, the year that I wrote the last file of Uncle Roger, created Molasses, an early HyperCard work, and began to work on its name was Penelope, with its contrasting world model of the San Francisco Bay Area art world. I was interested in purposely setting this new work beside the Silicon Valley world model of Uncle Roger. These worlds existed side by side and once in a while, they merged -- as they did in my life and work.
Yes, I had been to the parties like those on which Uncle Roger centers, but contingently, many of the lexias of its name was Penelope, take place in the studios and gardens of friends and colleagues that populate the world model of the narrative, such as Chris Burden at a party at SFAI, Tom Marioni in performance, Jill Scott's studio at SITE, Carolee Schneemann's studio in NYC, Richard Alpert in performance at Bonnie Sherk's The Farm, Steve Durland's cowboy boots, and Sonya Rapoport's Shoe Field when it was hosted by a Bay area computer store.
In the dark courtyard of the Art Institute,
3. Judy Malloy, its name was Penelope, lexia 311
S uch crossing of paths, however remembered, is core experience for poets and often continues influential. As Stuart Moulthrop observes about TINAC:
"Maybe an analogy or two will help. The legend that is TINAC seems less like some intensely obscure indie band whose members are all now shepherds, and more like a college-town FM station that flourished for a year or two before the supremacy of News-And-Talk. By which I mean, there was really not much "there" to TINAC, except as a point of circulation and convergence through which some interesting projects happened to pass -- Michael's afternoon, Nancy's annotation software P.R.O.S.E., John's Uncle Buddy's Phantom Funhouse, Jay Bolter's Writing Space, Jane Yellowlees Douglas' End of Books, or Books without End, and my own early tinkerings. TINAC left the air long ago. The call letters are remembered only dimly, the DJs are all forgotten, but somewhere out there, doubtless on the Net, we'll always have the music." 
4. In my content | code | process Interview with Stuart Moulthrop.
A week or so ago, over the course of two days, while the wind howled, and the sky was white with snow, thirty inches fell outside my window.
It was a time to read, write, and reflect on the future. A time for apple cider and apple doughnuts; a time for fondue, made with Emmentaler, Gruyere and champagne; a time for linguini with artichoke hearts and basil from the window herb garden; a time to plan the documentation of artists' early telematic projects; a time for white chocolate; a time to begin the research for "the whole room like a picture in a dream": Dorothy Richardson Writing; and a time to walk in the woods.
It was also a time to recreate the code for a classic work of electronic literature. Thus, I begin this new 2016 writer's notebook with notes on "Recreating the 1990 GW-BASIC version of its name was Penelope" in the 2016 Critical Studies Working Group. (CCSWG2016)
With a series of online panels -- beginning this year with Literacies -- as well as with code critiques contributed by Working Group participants, every other year, CCSWG addresses humanities and computer science interdisciplinary issues in the study, teaching, use, and significance of code. CCSWG2016 is/was organized by Mark C. Marino and Jeremy Douglass, coordinated by Viola Lasmana and Ashley Champagne, and sponsored by the Humanities and Critical Code Studies Lab, (USC) and the Transcriptions Center. (UCSB) This year, highlights so far are Sneha Veeragoudar Harrell's discussion of her use of Scratch to introduce resettled refugee young women to the creation of personal narratives and the led-by-David Berry discussion of the materiality of Joseph Weizenbaum's ELIZA/DOCTOR code.
Not only is the Critical Code Studies Working Group an outstanding example of a successful in-depth primarily word-based virtual discussion, (This year the conferencing software is Vanilla Forum) but also, in counterpoint to the discussions -- participants create parallel code critique "workshops" that enrich discussion with detailed analysis of code and its creation.
"Recreating the 1990 GW-BASIC version of its name was Penelope"
The iPad version of the Eastgate its name is Penelope is finally due to be published by Eastgate this Spring. This version -- thanks to Mark Bernstein's work and to the extensive back and forth we spent on the 12 or so builds -- is the finest implementation of this work so far.
Meanwhile, in the shelter of CCSWG16, I have created a scholars' version of my 1990 Narrabase Press its name was Penelope -- originally coded in the historic BASIC program, GW-BASIC, written for Bill Gates by Greg Whitten.
On January 19 when I began this project, it seemed like a Herculean task. Although, many iterations of the classic Penelope code are in my archives at Duke, what I had to work with was a battered printout of a draft of the program with handwritten notes, as well as the text of the lexias. I would need to type the program in, make changes indicated by both the notes and my recollection of how the original worked, debug each section, create separate files for each lexia and tweak the program enough so that it ran on DOSBox while at the same time retaining as much of the original as possible.
"They lifted the mast and stept it in its hollow box, made it fast with the forestays, hauled up the white sail by its ropes of twisted leather. The wind blew full into the bellying sail, and the dark wave boomed about the stem of the ship as she went; so on she sped shouldering the swell, travelling steadily on her way. When they had made snug all the tackle about the ship, they set before them brimming bowls of wine, and poured libations to the gods immortal and everlasting..."
Homer, The Odyssey. Book II. Translated by W.H.D. Rouse. NY, New American Library, 1937. p. 31
The generative hypertext its name was Penelope (Eastgate, 1993, Narrabase Press, 1990, exhibition version 1989) is a collection of randomly-generated occurring and reoccurring memories in which a woman conceptual photographer recollects the details of her life. Called one of the early classics of electronic literature by Robert Coover, its name was Penelope invites the reader to explore an artist's life through the metaphor of the life of Penelopeia, the central woman in Homer's Odyssey -- from the childhood memories in "Dawn," the Homeric sunrise; to " A Gathering of Souls"; to the making of art in "Fine Work and Wide Across;" to the troubles related in "Rock and Hard Place;" to a concluding "Song".
As opposed to randomly permutating words in phrases and sentences, generative hypernarrative utlizes a database of whole lexias. its name was Penelope was composed so that in whatever order the lexias appeared, the reading experience would appear natural, and in the composition process, I created an authoring system that seamlessly immersed the reader in a work of literature where you might be reading a poetry chapbook, yet the "pages" are magically brought up at the will of the computer, and the seductive repetition situates you in a place of remembered narrative where memories are shuffled, appear, submerge, resurface, and repeat.
The initial BASIC program for its name was Penelope was begun in 1988 and was based on the generative hypertext program I created (in the same year) for "Terminals", file 3 of Uncle Roger. I liked the way this program worked and thought that an entire work could be created that simulated the way memories come and go in the narrator's mind.
I began the reconstruction process with the title page. The ASCII graphic toy boat that sails across the screen, accompanied by computer-generated sound was not included in the Eastgate version. This made sense because the look and feel of the Mac/Windows interface is quite different from the look and feel of a work created with GW-BASIC on an IBM AT 286.
Nevertheless, as the recreation process began, it was amazing to see the toy boat sail across the screen and hear the sound that introduces the opening file - dawn - the narrator's childhood memories.
To recreate the entire work, I used a code critique space on CCSWG16 as a working notebook. There I documented the progress of the recreation of the code -- until finally on January 30, 2016. the entire program was working, and all the lexias were accessible.
I t was a thrilling moment.
"On New Year's Eve, waiting for the arrival of 2016, this 2015 notebook closes with notes that look to the future of public electronic literature....."