Skip to main content

The digi.lit Report

This last Saturday I was at digi.lit, San Francisco's first digital literary conference. My brain has been humming ever since.

I was there as a volunteer for this Litquake event, but also got to sit in on several panels during the first half of the day, and came away with so much inspiration and excitement. Sometimes publishing conferences have an air of despair about them: if we're all being honest with ourselves, very few are going to emerge from the conference published, and even those who do will quite likely be disappointed with the process anyway. digi.lit was not like that. But it also wasn't a "whoo-hoo, we're all gonna get rich off our writing!" kind of feeling either. There was no sense of evangelism about the event: the purpose was not to convince every attendee of the value of digital publishing. It was all very dialogue-based. The over-arching emotion I walked away with was possibility. There are just so many more ways to tell a story, have your story experienced, and get your stories out there than ever before, and even the possibilities are expanding. As Lisa Rutherford, of the super cool publishing group, Coliloquy, said during a panel entitled If it's Digital, Can It Be Literature: "We are at the tipping point of what is possible."

I heard all kinds of fascinating ideas about how technology and writing are intersecting:

  • Crowdsourced original (and GORGEOUS) cover art for some of the greatest works of fiction in the public domain by Recovering the Classics. For instance, this and this. (Seriously, take five minutes to browse and hide your credit card from yourself).
  • A legal novel told from several different points of view, but you can't scan backward to double check what you've read before, and you have to choose who is innocent. (Coliloquy)
  • Being able to subscribe to stories according to your favorite themes.
  • Getting feedback on each serialized chapter of your book. (JukePop)
  • Teen girls who are writing and sharing chapters with the likes of Margaret Atwood. Oh, how I would have so been all over this when I was a teen. (Wattpad)
  • Posting all your research on Pinterest as a way to grab reader's attention (this has totally intrigued me: I will be creating a Pinterest page for both my existing and work in progress novels post haste).

Which is to say, I was inspired. One of the things I've been trying to do is think wider about writing, about all the possibilities with writing. It's not my first instinct to do so: I like writing the way I write, it works for me, if anything it's gotten easier with repetition. But it's good to have your own expectations expanded. And thinking in possibility, rather than what's worked in the past, opens you up to all kinds of creativity. 

On my bus ride to the conference, I read a line from a Poets & Writers article that read:"Conflict is what brings about growth." And I was chewing on this idea in regard to my own challenges at the moment (primarily, needing to find work that is both meaningful and sustainable), and realizing that yes, this point in life could be about growth, if I seek that out. And there's still a lot of heated debate and conflict around digital publishing (every single author reading I go to seems to include one nervous person in the crowd asking about the future of books and bookstores). But maybe it's helpful to look at this as a time of growth as well. A time of possibility. 


Comments

  1. Some really useful slides here. I've been looking for something like this to help with a research piece I've been working on.
    training to be a life coach

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think life coaching is fascinating! I hope your research is leading you to interesting things!

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

My Litquake 2012 Report

I've been avoiding putting this together, because a part of me really doesn't want this year's Litquake festival to be over already.  The other part of me is still cranky-tired, wandering around trying to get to all those projects I said I'd get to after Litquake, and feeling post-Christmas like.

In short, this year's Litquake was AMAZING.  Every year has been awesome, but this one was particularly special for me because I got to actually help plan the awesome.  As a volunteer during the festival for the past several years, I definitely felt like I contributed to making each event I helped at awesome, but this year, being on the committee,* I got to witness the tremendous build up to the festival that happens the whole year prior.  The amount of love, sweat and time that goes into it is incredible, and I'm not sure I've ever been part of something so cool.  Which is not to say I'm not still cranky-tired and looking forward to feeling fully recovered.

For Mom, Twenty-One Years Later

I lost my mom twenty-one years ago today. She died from complications related to a long battle with chronic-progressive multiple sclerosis. I was a week away from turning twenty-one. Which means I have not had her as long as I did have her.
It used to make me unique among my friends, to have lost a parent at such a young age. But I’m no longer young and many friends have joined this depressing club. The dues are astronomical and no one prepares refreshments.
People, moms are important. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. Whether you were once a child or are currently a mom. They are the sun, moon, and stars, even when they are completely obscured by darkness.
I wish she mattered less. She doesn’t. She matters more than almost anything: that first hit of love, that childhood sense of safety, that initial understanding of what it means to be a woman in the world: mom.



Memory is funny when it comes to dead people: I can remember her any way I want. Which means I can also mis-remem…

Time, as understood in the fourth trimester

Having a baby is not unlike accidentally slipping into a science fiction universe, everything you know is so completely upended. I wrote an essay about how my sense of time shifted out from under me in the first months of my daughter's life. 



Excerpts in italics are from the essay The Beginning Of Time, by Stephen W. Hawking

1.
The time scale of the universe is very long compared to that for human life. It was therefore not surprising that until recently, the universe was thought to be essentially static and unchanging in time.

The Longest Shortest Time is the name of a podcast on parenting that I heard about several years before becoming a parent and filed away mentally. “The days are long but the years are short” is another phrase used to both comfort and cajole new parents. The implication is that parenting shifts your experience of time, as if life simply advancing in years wasn’t enough to do the same. One hour of an infant screaming inconsolably after her two month immunizatio…