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.

Why I Don't Like Literature
Thursday, 5 Aug 2004 :-: [soundtrack]

Today, I spoke briefly with C. S. Prælucor, a professional cubist. The topic drifted to literature.

(I love literature. I ought to. I'm a Literature student)

I often become discouraged and disillusioned with the study of literature. I sometimes even despise the study of literature.

Is this just the frustrations of a student tired of work? No.

Here's what I don't like about the study of litereature: It's not about literature. Most of the time, it's about something else. We never pause to savour or enjoy the discipline. It's like we're ashamed to have fun doing it. Instead, we listen to other people use Lit to build monuments to their intellect. Or we build monuments to our own intellect. Other times, we use it as a gateway to understanding society or a way to stimulate discussion.

C.S. Lewis once said, "We read to know we're not alone." In Literature, it seems like everyone is dying to be an individual. We are encouraged to formulate theories and identify themes, and defend our opinions. But why do we rarely savor beautiful writing or praise the author's creativity?

Studying Literature reduces it to a topic, when it is something far beyond. I didn't notice, so eager was I to do well and think well, but I have cast off the awe, wonder, and simple joy I once had in reading. Always an idea, always a theory, always trying to piece the world together in my thoughts.

The problem, of course, is that good writing is a good way to develop powerful thinking, and powerful thinking is helpful. So, due to the nature of many people over many years studying literature, we end up absorbing ourselves in stupid topics and petty arguments just to be unique.

This problem seems to be common in all disciplines. It has happened even the sciences, where the joy in nature has been replaced by an endless meticulum of detail discovery.

The cubist agreed.

But, on the other hand some theory is useful. Studying Bakhtin's views on voice and dialogism in the novel really helped me appreciate what was going on inside a number of works. But I would rather spend time appreciating a novel than debating it for hours about it in class.

I suppose it has to work that way; most people wouldn't read if there were no class. Most people do their learning in the classroom.

Sometimes, I wonder if I would do better without classes (England Ho!). But Argh! There's that individualism again.

** * **

Things happen differently in Bible studies -- when they go well. A good Bible study is a bunch of people getting excited about God and His ways as they read together. A good Bible study includes people who can do the literary thinking but who realize its importance in enjoying, savoring, and learning the ways of God.

I am grateful to be in a good Bible study. They put up with my rambling and have the wisdom to keep it real.