How to use online space. How to connect online space with mental space. How to connect the two. How to let the air in and the sun peak through the blinds. How to let the public in without letting the personal out. How to print things here and let these things and their number contribute to greater growth and production. How not to hold onto things so tightly. How to do these things within this screen you are looking at. Spying into the ongoing life of a mind. A mind driven to jumping by hypertext.


Douglas: I have trouble with the notion that hypertext is necessarily nonlinear. Multilinear or polylinear, perhaps, but not nonlinear. There's the whole notion of perception -- there are cognitive psychologists who'd argue that our perceptual apparatus is prejudiced in favor of perceiving things in a linear, causal fashion. We create causality and sequences in the act of perceiving.

Nestvold: That's it -- we always read in a linear fashion, no matter what the narrative does.

Douglas: Absolutely. Otherwise, it would make no sense at all.

More of this conversation here.


Minds struggle to create meaning even when there is apparently none there in the beginning. Minds imagine stories out of nothing and create where nothing was there previously.

It is easier to write with hypertexts than without them. It is harder to write with hypertexts than without them.

Prehypertext hypertextual writing: Choose your own adventure books. Hopscotch/Rayuela.

I just want to explode when forced to read a book from beginning to end like a good child. This business of one word following another needs to be completely reconsidered. The most important thing is to involve the reader as an active participant, an accomplice even.

- Julio Cortázar (Through an unnamed translator. Ah, no one ever credits the translator it seems.)

Personally, I value the page in a different kind of way, like the feel of paper, like the skipping from one side of the book to the other.

Cortázar was experimenting with flow and story.

Now we can listen to Cortázar immediately within the text see:

It is never the same book then. The book changes with your own decisions about what to read and how to read.

Some people's blogs are just words with hardly any hypertexts or videos or photos.

Hopscotch is not an anti-novel. It is a contra-novel. That is a word closer to the truth.

Blogs are caught in the present constantly. A present which quickly receives a code for the time and date. I am listening to Cortázar speak now while I write about Cortázar. You can repeat this experience by listening to Cortázar and reading this or writing at the same time.

The sun is going down right now. It is setting through the eucalyptus trees.

Cortázar wanted to give all of us more options for how to read and to write.

Blogs also give you choices. If this is boring, you can go read something else. Maybe you would like to read Herta Müller. A story by the new winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Or maybe a story about a Turkish boy longing to be a Berliner.

There you are. There are lot of options. This text has to compete with all of those other texts in a very direct way. If you are bored, you can skip off somewhere else to see something else. Of course, with books, there is a similar experience, but in fact a click is easier, quicker and more accessible.

I just stopped writing for a while. I went and read a story at Words without Borders. I read the story I just linked to above about the Turkish boy from Berlin. The story is called Selam Berlin and it is by Yadé Kara. If you haven't already read it, I recommend reading it. Except now I am not in agreement with Words without Borders that the story is about longing to be anything. In fact, it is a very clearheaded story about a young man's sense of identity and belonging, not longing. The narrative is quite linear, but not for the online reader.

The online reader is constantly packaging and repackaging, ordering and reordering, constructing and reconstructing. I have a bad habit of constantly checking the front page of the New York Times. This is how I find things out. Plug into what is happening with the world. Ft. Hood. The health care bill.

It's hard to stay focused in a hypertext world. How to read this straight through from beginning to end. The impossibility of reading the text I just wrote from beginning to end. Distraction is the point in fact.