Writing is Way Different Now.

There are about four tabs open in my browser right now that have to either with reading, being well-read, or books in some form, and each of them deserves it’s own space here. However, this just landed on my radar:

And now all of them seem a bit funny. When I think about writing now, I must think about the total package that comes with it. When I think about the writing my children will do (ages 6, 4, and 8mos) I can’t even begin to think of what they will create and how they will create it.

I’m floored. And I love it.

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7 thoughts on “Writing is Way Different Now.

  1. As the Editor in Chief of an internet literary magazine, i was equally excited by the possibilities of this. I hope it is not taken with the usual pretension of traditionalism from artists in all media and that we can all see that the act of writing is not lost, just transformed into a new medium and mode of expression the way the printing press changed the culture or oratory and recorded sound changed the nature of musical expression. Possibilities abound!

    1. Hi Jake,

      I agree, there are some wonderful possibilities here. It will, inevitably be taken with some skepticism on the writing front, but that’s OK with me. It is right to question these forces as they press into very traditional venues. Personally, I am looking forward to moving in this direction, although at the moment my iOS development skills are non-existent.

  2. way different? I’m not sold. the difference seems to be that they’ve taken several different forms of media and put it together in one place – the text is still text, the video is still video, the pictures are still pictures. This is neat, but fundamentally different? eh.

    They’ve made it all pretty on an ipad, but haven’t the best blogs been doing things like this for quite some time?

    1. Jerrid,

      I truly enjoy the way you push thinking, and I’m glad you popped in here. My thoughts regarding the delineation of “text as still text, video is still video,” differ from yours in one essential way: they are now interdependent of one another. If a writer sets out to create something akin to what Matas showed, your thought processes and compositional decisions are altered in light of the fact that you now are competing for pagespace with these elements. There is no way that doesn’t influence the word choice and placement. Books, articles, and stories have always been true escapes, but I think we are now taking that escape to an entirely different place where we are active participants in how the story is told.

      Think of the use of location-based elements in storytelling: I have my mobile device at the donut shop in Manhattan and the book I am reading is set two blocks from my seat. I walk down to the street named in the text and my screen changes; I’m viewing the scene as the author/artist narrates it to me. (see “Alice” from 3:04 here)

      These are significant changes, I feel.

      1. This mash up is interesting, and you’re right. any change in medium is a significant change. However, this change is both good and bad. Linearity of text has many many positives. While the notion of a non-linear text is intuitively appealing, it is very difficult to make a lengthy and nuanced argument non-linearly without true interactivity – when you and I can sit in a room and bounce ideas back and forth. An argument cannot be written this way so must have some sense of linearity – even at the cost of redundancy, linearity prevents misunderstanding. If we give people the option to pick and choose aspects of an argument, how can we have any faith in the fidelity of the argument. Of course, people do pick and choose aspects now, but how much worse might this get if the medium is actually encouraging us to pick and choose.

        Anyway, just some thoughts on which to think.

  3. This is just fascinating. I really cannot believe how you can just pick up a photo while looking through the pages and pick it up and view it. I love how this device can make learning so interactive.

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