Time travel and hypertext

Posted by jerry on February 13th, 2007 — Posted in Journal, New media, Theory, Writing

Having just read the remarkable novel The Time Traveler’s Wife I got to thinking just how common time travel is. So common, in fact, that you have to think carefully to realise you are doing it every day. There are hints, of course, like when your Partner looks at you strangely over the coffee and says ‘have you heard what I just said?’ and you realise you were thinking about the sound of a violin you heard last week, or a funny email from your daughter.

As Mark Marino notes, time travel is a common theme in literature and film. But these narrative devices work on safe constrained parameters – the film maker or writer supplies the context against which the time travel is juxtaposed for its effect.

Time travel narrative

He makes the claim that perhaps hypertext is different – and he may be partly right. The thing about hypertext is that it can have many more variables than linear fiction – whether novel or film – and may be constructed in a ‘writerly’ way by making it wiki-like with multiple authors. But real time travel is far more complex.

We time travel all the time, but have little control over where it takes us – the scent of a rose takes you to that garden in Leeds Castle in the UK ten years ago, or the sight of some wrapping paper takes you to the gift you are thinking of buying your partner next week. The thing is, it is only by exception that we actually experience narrative sequence in an ordered linear sequence. We are constantly steered by connotations and overtones of meaning.

It makes me wonder then, why some people seem to get hot under the collar about the time and resources that go into spaces like Second Life – real life experienced in a virtual world. Don’t people get that we are always embedded in a multiplicity of virtual worlds? And to think the authorities were worried about novel-space, like the court case surrounding ‘Madam Bovary’.

Angela Thomas, a New Media researcher from Sydney explores Second Life and uses that space for teaching new media literacies – you see, it’s all about real human interaction, it’s just the space that’s virtual. Perhaps that is more healthy than sharing a real space and daydreaming off somewhen else!


WordPress Directory

Posted by jerry on February 12th, 2007 — Posted in Journal, New media, Writing

Some good news- Mindsigh – this humble blog has been added to the new WordPress directory of blogs – under the category of Humanities – performing arts. In an era in which spammers are severely muddying the waters, these directories will become a major part of the search strategies used by people wanting to get to real content providers quickly. Bouquets to WordPress for
getting this service up and running πŸ™‚

Wordpress directory


Writer Response Theory – social bookmarking

Posted by jerry on February 11th, 2007 — Posted in Journal, New media, Writing

The concept of referencing is ancient – and goes back at least to Akkadian times on cuneiform tablets. Between notions of body-as-text and and the emergence of social virtual worlds, like Second Life, it is perhaps not too surprising that Web2 provides a whole new dimension to social referencing – and social bookmarking, whether through shared possessions via Amazon or LibraryThing or through the varieties of online community that emerged in the last decade of the 20th century, through to YouTube and Flikr.

One aspect that characterises the new web is the increasing capacity to annotate or edit socially written texts – through wikis or collaborative projects, such as those referenced in Mark Marina’s ‘Marginalia in the library of babel‘ project. Diigo software adds a further dimension to social bookmarking:

If social bookmarking allows us to share our library catalogs, social annotation sites allow us to share our libraries complete with their underlinings, highlights, and marginalia.


Web2 has been with us for some time increasing possibilities for social transparency transforming notions of privacy and ownership into a new form of social space and cultural intimacy. This is beautifully illustrated by the short video Web 2.0 … The Machine is Us/ing Us by Michael Wesch


Many thanks to Angela Thomas for pointing to WRT and for WRT pointing to Professor Wesch’s site – see what I mean?!!


Bookmark – inspired by Moleskine

Posted by jerry on May 13th, 2006 — Posted in Journal, Writing

As I prepare to head off on another adventure, the first stop is of course, to Pepe’s Paperie for a new Moleskine notebook – the squared paper being my preference. Now, one of the great design features of the Moleskine is the elastic strap which keeps the book closed – preventing all those wonderful ideas from falling out!

As I took the Moleskine to the counter, Sharon noticed a stand of bookmarks and saw at once the key thing that set these bookmarks apart from any other – yes, an elastic strap which would hold the book closed (and the bookmark in place) – just like a Moleskine πŸ™‚


And here it is in use with the book I am currently reading


And yes that is my latest pen – the Visconti ‘Van Gogh’ fountain pen – now with a fine nib – which works perfectly on moleskine paper.

And the moleskine, the pen and the bookmark were Sharon’s gifts to meΒ  – now that’s special πŸ™‚


Visconti fountain pen and Moleskine notebook

Posted by jerry on March 4th, 2006 — Posted in Journal, Writing

With my birthday came a wonderful gift from Sharon – a Visconti Van Gogh (vanilla colour) fountain pen and three of my favourite Moleskine squared paper notebooks πŸ™‚ The pen came with an ink converter so I was eager to test this pen, with its broader medium nib as against the Waterman Apostrophe’s fine nib to see what the difference would be on Moleskine paper – especially given the extended discussion on the use of fountain pens with Moleskine notebooks.

Visconti Van Gogh fountain pen
Visconti pen and Moleskine notebook

I filled the Visconti with Parker Quink blue-black and gave it a try:

Visconti with Quink ink
Visconti with Quink ink on Moleskine paper

And the Moleskine soaked it up like blotting paper! Noting that the Waterman has never had problems, I thought perhaps the issue might be the type of ink, or the ink flow. So I removed the converter by gently unscrewing it, and inserted a Ryman cartridge – same as I use on the Waterman.

Visconti pen with Ryman cartridge
Visconti pen with Ryman ink cartridge on Moleskine paper

What a difference! Yes there are still a couple of minor whiskers, but nothing like the quink! The rest I guess is down to the greater ink flow of the medium nib – I have the fine nib on order and hopefully it should arrive in a week or two.

The funny thing is that the young lass in Pepe’s Paperie gave me a stern warning: “For heaven’s sake don’t take it on an aircraft” I astonished her by saying that I have never had leakage problems using the Waterman pen – are Visconti pens so vulnerable? or is it just the ink they have been using?

Anyhow, the pen is beautifully balanced, fairly light (only slightly thicker and heavier than the Waterman Apostrophe) and has a very smooth glide over the paper – it is a real delight to use!

Visconti fountain pen with Moleskine notebook