Trumped and Pickled

I have been thinking about digital storytelling.
Just when I sense I am making some progress, I receive an alert and I am in one step forward, two steps back territory.
Yesterday, I received two alerts that extended my visit into this territory. Both helped me contemplate even more what might be possible with digital storytelling.
The first alert was to what I think is a most delightful synthesis post that invites the reader to explore a story with many layers.
Nicco Mele wrote 7 Reasons Why Trump Will Win. In it he discusses why Donald Trump will win the nomination primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire. His seven points integrate many different perspectives on Donald Trump’s campaign.
I thought point 3 on the list was particularly apposite for a wider discussion of storytelling, Moment Media:

Douglas Rushkoff’s Present Shock makes the case that, thanks to our technology, we’re in a post-narrative culture. Extending that idea to politics suggests the decline of traditional campaign narrative and the power of the tweet or the moment. That is not to say that narrative is dead; it’s just to say that the balance of power has shifted

My willingness to adopt social media has opened me up to this power of the moment. I tend to use email aggregator alerts as my way to manage this momentary experience. There is so much being shared that I have made a determined effort to slow my response to it whilst simultaneously curating what I find.
Nicco’s post left me thinking that there is space for narrative but did encourage me to contemplate how he manages his day to synthesise the alerts he receives. I am delighted he included Douglas Rushkoff’s 2014 post, How Technology Killed the Future.
In that post, Douglas observes:

Sure, the rate at which information spreads and multiplies has accelerated, but what’s taking place now is more than a mere speeding up. What we’re experiencing is the amplification of everything that happens to be occurring at the moment, and a diminishment of everything that isn’t. It’s not just that Google search results favor the recent over the relevant; it’s that suddenly an entire society does.

Just one of Nicco’s seven points took me a day to explore.
If he left me trumped, my second alert left me pickled!
I was enticed by a title of a post about the making of digital books. The first paragraphs hooked me:

I believe you’ve read The Pickle Index, and I think we can agree that it represents something interesting and new. The novel’s digital edition is much more than words on a screen; instead, it masquerades as a recipe app, complete with menus and lists and a wonderful little map. It’s quite slick; if it was a real recipe app, it would be a pretty solid one! Its creators, Eli Horowitz and Russell Quinn, use the idiom of the app to pull you more deeply into the story, to make you, as a reader, feel somehow like an accomplice.

It’s fabulous.

The hook for me … “to make you, as a reader, feel somehow like an accomplice”.

In my two steps backwards mode I went off to try to be an accomplice. There is a great website for the Pickle story.

I was wondering what my friends in coach learning might make of the story:

 The Pickle Index is a short novel published in three simultaneous, stand-alone editions: a crazy, innovative slipcased double-hardcover, an immersive, serialized app for iPhone/iPad, and a handsome paperback from FSG Originals. All three were launched on November 3, 2015.

There is a delightful question on the Pickle website: Am I supposed to but all three versions? The answer:

You are not supposed to do anything. Each edition is designed to stand entirely on its own, exploring the unique possibilities of each form: interconnected paintings, handsome woodcuts, tentacled endpapers, dynamic maps, constant surveillance, etc. There are different pleasures to be gained from each format, and each reader has his or her own preferred reading style.

Or are you asking if buying multiple copies of all three editions will make you a better person? It might.

Which entangled me even more!

Charley Locke wrote a review of Pickle for Wired. In it she suggests:

The Pickle Index is not a traditional novel, nor is it a conventional app. When Eli Horowitz and Russell Quinn set out to create the multimedia storytelling experience, they made a conscious decision to eschew hallmarks of design like accessibility and ease of use. Instead, they provide multiple entry-points into an intricate and immersive world. In doing so, they’ve reimagined what a digital literary experience can be.

I am off to engage with this reimagined digital literary experience … soon-to-be-pickled, definitely trumped but excited by the interplay between the ‘now’ and my imagination.

I feel that The Pickle Index will move my thinking on the way the New York Times’ Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek did.

Perhaps a two steps forward, one step back time.

Photo Credits

Day 360 (Carla Arena, CC BY-NC 2.0)
Donald Trump (Matthew Trudeau, public domain)

The Pickle Index (Eli Horowitz)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here