November 9, 2003, a day after I bought my Airport card at the Apple Store on Chicago's Magnificent Mile, I was sitting in the hotel lobby wondering what to do. I had already packed my luggage, and my books were neatly sealed away. The others were still asleep
My laptop detected a signal, but only if I was sitting in one particular couch. I didn't want to look at my email.
A good friend's name shone green in the iChat list. This was odd, because the clocks back in Pennsylvania were reading 6:30AM. I was surprised to see her up so early on a Sunday morning.
So I started to tell her about the trip. Soon, her away message popped up, and I realized there must have been some glitch.
I didn't stop typing.... the experience was amazing. Because I was writing an Instant Message, there was an immediacy to what I was writing. I couldn't mull over things or edit them. They just went out, and I kept moving. Soon, what I was writing began to take on a rhythm. I started to realize that I had something unusual on my hands. I kept typing, and a general direction/thesis/flow for the messages began to come together.
It was an Instant Message Poem, but I didn't realize it yet.
This Spring, Patty mentioned that she kept the file, still surprised that I would write something like that into iChat. I had also kept the file, and I took a second look at my old message. Then, today, I created a series of Tinderbox macros to draw iChat-ish boxes around bits of text.
These macros came together to make "Chatting from the Palmer House" a reality.
Has anyone done this before? A precursory googling turns up plenty of poetry chat rooms, but no mention of formatting poems as chats.
Know of any examples? Have any ideas? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.