Notebook of Sand

• Recent Publications
• Recent Projects
• Conferences & Speaking
"Comparing Spatial Hypertext Collections"
  ACM Hypertext '09
"Archiving and Sharing Your Tinderbox"
  Tinderbox Weekend London '09
"The Electronic Nature of Future Literatures"
  Literary Studies Now, Apr '09
"The World University Project"
  St. John's Col. Cambridge, Feb '09
"Ethical Explanations,"
  The New Knowledge Forge, Jun '08
Lecture, Cambridge University
  Tragedy in E-Lit, Nov '07
Hypertext '07: Tragedy in E-Lit
Host for Tinderbox Cambridge '07
Keynote: Dickinson State Uni Conf
Upper Midwest NCHC'07: Speaker
eNarrative 6: Creative Nonfiction
HT'05: "Philadelphia Fullerine"
  Nelson award winning paper
NCHC '05:
 Nurturing Independent Scholarship
Riddick Practicum:
  Building Meeting Good Will
NCHC '04:
  Philadelphia Fullerine
  Lecture on American Studies
WWW@10: Nonfiction on the Web
NCHC '03: Parliamentary Procedure
ELL '03 -- Gawain Superstar
• (a)Musing (ad)Dictions:

Ideas. Tools. Art. Build --not buy. What works, what doesn't. Enjoy new media and software aesthetics at Tekka.

Theodore Gray (The Magic Black Box)

Faith, Life, Art, Academics. Sermons from my family away from home: Eden Chapel!

My other home: The Cambridge Union Society (in 2007, I designed our [Fresher's Guide])

The Economist daily news analysis

Global Higher Ed blog

• Hypertext/Writing

Writing the Living Web

Chief Scientist of Eastgate Systems, hypertext expert Mark Bernstein. (Electronic) Literature, cooking, art, etc.

Fabulous game reviews at playthisthing.

• Stats

Chapter I: Born. Lived. Died.

There is a Chapter II.

Locale: Lancaster County Pa, USA

Lineage: Guatemala

Religion: My faith is the primary focus of my life, influencing each part of me. I have been forgiven, cleansed, and empowered by Jesus Christ. Without him, I am a very thoughtful, competent idiot. With him, I am all I need to be, all I could ever hope for. I oppose institutional religious stagnation, but getting together with others is a good idea. God is real. Jesus Christ is his Son, and the Bible is true. Faith is not human effort. It's human choice. I try to be the most listening, understanding, and generous person I can.

Interests: Anything I can learn. Training and experience in new media, computer science, anglophone literature, education, parliamentary debate, democratic procedure, sculpture, and trumpet performance. Next: applied & computational linguistics, probably.

Education: Private school K-3. Home educated 4-12. Graduated Summa Cum Laude from Elizabethtown College in Jan 2006. As the 2006 Davies-Jackson Scholar, I studied English at St. John's College, Cambridge University from 2006 - 2008.

Memberships: Eden Baptist, Cambridge Union Society, ACM, AIP, GPA.

Alum of the Elizabethtown College Honors Program, sponsored by the Hershey Company.

Comprehending Your Creative Work, Revisited
Monday, 6 Feb 2006 :-:

Dick Strawser, a local composer, has just posted what I think clinches a question that has been recurring on this blog over the last few weeks. He writes:

Part of the joy of creativity — to outweigh the struggle that it often is, even if it’s only trying to balance your art against the reality you have to exist in — is discovering something you hadn’t thought of to begin with. This is where the mystery of inspiration comes in. Just because I'm a composer doesn’t make it any less mystifying than it is to someone who's not.

Before I get back into it the question, I would like to mention that Dr. Dick's Blog is an awesome discussion of the world of music. His is one of my absolute favorite blogs. Where else would you read about Mozart's Skull?

** * **

So, the following is a recap of the positch before Strawser took the field. The original question, from Mark Bernstein, was:

When authoring a hypertext, should one have a complete mental model of the work, or is it possible to make a good work too complex for even the author to fully understand, even in structure?

A reply was attempted by myself and Clare Hooper in an AIM conversation. The key statement, made by Miss Hooper, is:

with any complex creation - be it hypertext, a lengthy document, code - it's easy enough to forget intricacies after the act of creation, and, with increased complexity, perhaps during it too

Then, this weekend, during discussions about narrative and truth:

Hannah Eagleson once remarked to me that her best fiction writing occurs when she herself doesn't know the story until it has been fully written.
** * **

What, then, is my conclusion? It has three parts.

  • Software tools for creativity must allow for fuzzy planning. Tools should let us begin with a vague sense of what we want without becoming locked in. For this reason, everything from structure to content should be as open-ended as possible (this relates to the other half of the conversation Clare and I had).
  • Software tools should help us let ideas emerge and give us the means to carry out any structural changes without becoming locked in. We should be able to easily experiment with different ideas without losing what we had before.
  • Good software should give you a good idea of your immediate (existing and potential) context while keeping you aware of where you are in the overall structure. You should be able to quickly move from the big picture to detail items, and back. If possible, the transition from big picture to detail should be gradated.