Visual Piece - The Suicide of a Stranger


For this piece I decided that it would be interesting to modify a poem that I've already created, and is primarily based on true events, by adding imagery and fonts to see if it would enhance the poetry in any way. I tried to do a lot of experimentation with different fonts and a completely different layout from what I initially had. I like the result, but I still feel as though it could use some work. The images tend to be a bit much or are not implemented as fluidly as I'd like, it almost has a cluttered look even after enlarging the template to an abnormal size and configuration. I do enjoy the scattering of verses, as there never was meant to be a particular order to the piece

Audio Piece - Clean Your Room


I was having a lot of difficulty deciding what I wanted to do with this piece. My first thought was to have cooking sounds for various meals slowly overlap until they became a blur, similar to day to day life. But, I didn't feel that it had enough of my own work in it. So, instead, I decided to adopt a piece I have just created for a chapbook. It's a very small flash (non)fiction piece, and I was curious to see how it would change if read and edited with sounds, similar to the pieces that we listened to in class on Tuesday (Oct 11th)

October 17th - I've finally finished the audio piece. I continued on with the flash fiction piece, Clean Your Room, adding sound effects and a very short piano (like 2 seconds) track that I received from a free sounds website,which repeats over and over. The original idea of this story was just to add some effects so that the writing became more vivid while the reader/listener was hearing it, but as I did the narration, I decided to alter my voice so that it didn't sound like me. The deeper voice had ominous tones so I turned the entire piece in to an almost eerie tale. I also distorted some of the recorded effects, such as the door slamming shut, to enhance the illusion. Even though the content itself isn't meant to be scary when read on paper, it was transformed in a way that I did not expect and could not be happier with. I'd say the experiment was a definite success. The piece isn't very long, since it's flash fiction, but I didn't want to add another piece as it would change the mood that has been set with this one.

Hypertext Piece - The Story of Fuingeall


My idea was to create a choose your own adventure type story using Google sites. For this, I created a medieval style story that is a parody of Beowulf. I thought the story that I wrote turned out wonderfully, as well as some of the very simple line art drawings, which enhanced the mockery that the piece was supposed to represent. However, I ran in to massive problems using Google Sites. I felt extremely limited in what I was able to do for each individual tab of the story, but since I do not have a lot of experience with html, it wasn't possible to achieve the look and feel that I was going for. While I was able to create most of the desired links, it wouldn't save properly, causing me to redo pages over and over. I also do not like the inability to simply drag and drop artwork or text where ever you'd like on the page. Finally, it was fairly difficult to even change simple text fonts/colors and backgrounds, and I only seemed to be able to change the background for all of the pages, not a single page as an individual. The sidebar was also left in the piece so that it'd be possible to freely view it for experimental purposes, but would be removed at a later date to limit the choices.

Over all, I think that the work I put in to the story and the general idea of the experiment was a great success, however, Google Sites was a failure. It took many hours to create the site, which left very little time to experiment with one of the other options that were available. There are also spacial issues, which do not feel very organized, due to the inability to freely move content. It also seemed difficult to change around a template once chosen out of the list, so I ended up just creating my own, which looks very simple. I was having a hard time even simply deleting items or trying to change some of the images to my own. I will not be using Google Sites again unless they update it.

Social Piece - Nursery Twitters


For this piece, I decided to create a blog. Each post, with the exception of the most recent, contains a childhood nursery rhyme written out 3 times. The first is the rhyme as it is usually said and remembered. For the second post, I removed certain nouns, adjectives, and verbs to create what I wanted to essentially be a "mad lib" of the rhyme. The third post, and end product, has the blanks replaced with words from "tweets" that were found via a search of the word "nursery". I used the first verb, noun, adjective that was available as I worked my way down the nursery rhyme and down the list of tweets. Some times the final product turned out to be quite hilarious or worked out pretty well, and sometimes the idea fell flat.

For the final piece, I decided to see what the same experiment would be like but with a popular Shakespeare poem. Instead of searching for "nursery", I searched for the word Shakespeare and again created a "mad lib" inserting various words from the tweets. It worked out about the same as the rhymes. This was a little more difficult, as some of the language was harder to interpret to find an appropriate tweet phrase to put in it's place.

I think this was an interesting experiment. Google has a much better blog site than it does a website creator. I also wish that I knew some code so that I was able to simply click refresh and have the _ lines of the poem randomly fill in with words so that it constantly changes. I think that would have been a much better and more rewarding version of this same work.

Final - Family Crime

Throughout the course of the semester, I attempted to recreate a few pieces of work that I already had using a digital form. I wanted to see what the same piece would be like in a variety of mediums. What changes were made? How does the new medium work for the piece? What does it add and what does it take away (if anything)? I found that many of my experiments were extremely fun to create, and aside from the occasional hiccup with the software that I was using, I found myself to be very comfortable presenting my work in these different formats.

For the final, I took a similar approach. I wanted to recreate a few pages of a chapbook that I had been working on digitally. Using multiple images, some scanned in and some retrieved from Google images (modification allowed), I used Photoshop to combine the images (clipboard, folder, open folder, fake emblem, hand crafted stamp, etc) into a representation of a folder sitting on what would be an "officer's desk" and attempted to create a sort of flip book of the various "crimes" that my chapbook is meant to display. Melissa helped me to find a great font site, which I pulled different type writer fonts in order to give it an authentic feel of the reports being done by different officers, but I made sure that not to use too many so that the reader would start to feel disconnected.

I also scanned in or found several different paper images, which I had to copy/clone/modify to turn them into usable "8.5 x 11" pages that would hold the text. After applying and setting the text for each image individually, I used Acrobat to sort and combine the separate images in to the complete product that it is now.

I do wish that I had known Flash or another animation program so that I would have been able to give the illusion that the pages were actually turning, as opposed to the rough style that it's in now, but that rough feel also adds a certain element to the piece. I also wish that I had had time to do the entire chapbook (and I most definitely will once I have the time). It will be very interesting to have a hard copy side by side with the digital and to note the differences. It's also much easier to share the work in digital form. The chapbook is not meant to be simply a collection of white pages, but it needs to be visually enhanced in a way that connects with the reader a little more. The digital medium that it's currently in provides a very nice solution, even more so if I am able to make it more interactive.

Overall, I really enjoyed the class. I will continue to use the digital form, as it may well become impossible to not use for future writers. I thought that all of my experiments, some more successful than others, were all still successful in a way that helped me to think "outside" of the normal English box that we seem to be thrown in to from the start. 8.5 by 11. Times New Roman, 1 inch margins, MLA or APA style research papers, and on and on. Sometimes it starts to feel a little boring. I think it's been a creative and digital world for some time now, and to move forward in the medium is not only recommended but required.

-Mark