I explore media in transition. My research encompasses film, video, print, digital arts, and the web. I'm interested in what artists and writers are doing and in what critics and scholars are saying.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

My Novel: A Preview

I’m re-editing a novel I’ve been working on several years. I don’t want to give too much away, but I’ll provide a general overview:

The story begins as the main character, I’ll call her “A,” prepares for 2000 and the fresh start it represents. More at home in cyberspace than anywhere she has actually lived, she reinvents herself and her life story for readers of her multimedia Web diary, a blend of the memoir, travelogue, and blog. Like her Russian forebears, who immigrated to the United States at the turn of the previous century, she imagines belonging somewhere. Motivated as much by a child’s longing for fantasy as by a woman’s desire for truth, she highlights scenes from her past, a retrospective that chronicles her travels around the U.S. Characters who star in this virtual drama recapture worlds “A” has known and weave together the memories, dreams, and imaginings that have contributed to her development as a woman and a writer in postmodern America. Reminded where she has been and inspired to keep going, she envisions a role for herself in the twenty-first century that builds on her experiments with old and new media.

Framed as an online text, the story explores personal and cultural memory. Entries that “A” posts throughout the month of December 1999 play with the shifting spatial and temporal dimensions of her life narrative, a hybrid genre that draws on private and public archives across a range of media, including the Internet. Hyperlinks to (real and fictitious) Web sites are provided for most books, songs, films, TV programs, trends, and current events that are mentioned. The Web thus serves as a collective archive that offers “A” and other baby boomers easy access to long-forgotten resources. The pressing question for “A” is what to do with the material she finds—whether it’s from her diaries and letters, her bookshelves, the library, the Web, or elsewhere. This concern sparks her imaginative memory work.

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