Tuesday, December 08, 2020

Hypertext Dreams

I dream in hypertext.
It happened almost imperceptibly
And hypertext thoughts and practice crossed over,
And begat liminal links to the undercurrents
   that move the slumbering mind.

And now the surreal order is met with page transitions
As the mind navigates the context switches.
Thankfully, there are no spinning cursors
In the nightly realm for this impatient searcher.

The saving grace also is that the back button endures in that territory,
And no gremlins inject popups of misfortune obscene.
Nor do parasitic trolls invade
   with their Greek chorus of chaos and anxiety;
Their robot armies, the comment farm factories, are nowhere to be seen.
I count my blessings.

As yet untainted, these hypertext dreams of mine,
They remain the soul's consolation.
Solace for the mind's edifices at rest
Defended in depth,
And readied with deperimeterization strategies
Contra clickbait and worse.

The last time my dreams were of any interest was when I was nine,
After about six months of living in exile in France,
When I realized that I had started to dream in French.

The content of dreams is, of course, of no great import,
But changes in form do merit the occasional navel gazing.

So for me it has been French (per Ghana must go)
Eros (a few years later, circa the onset of puberty),
And, sometime in middle age, hypertext.
My life in dreams, as it were.

The belated realization of my latter day tendency
Towards hypertext dreams confounds as a matter of neurology
But perhaps it might also explain a lot, goes a school of thought
If we consult the Austrians about the interpretation of dreams.

I'm a hypertext thinker, an aficionado of the link.
I believe that the search and the journey is its own reward.
I mint references willy nilly and forge connective tissue
Like my tribe of fellow travelers and glue layer people.

I craft ballads to the link,
Odes to that moveable feast of attention.
Never mind the perils of broken links
Or the dead ends of referential integrity,
I believe in failing fast and code on demand.

At scale, I trust that the density of my thoughts
Is served by promiscuous reading and widespread referral.
The joys of private annotation at once
   and curation in public at the other.
That the hypermedia imperative prevails is all that matters.

My chosen canvas is thinking aloud in overlay networks.
I'm unafraid to send readers on discursive journeys,
Trusting that the sorting hat and those oracles of insight,
The great rankers of pages and web sites,
Will properly value the worth of my thought.

So I'm unapologetic about the intertextual heft of my brand of toli.
It's liberating too that hatchet jobs can mingle with whimsy.
Those who can handle conceptual whiplash
   will appreciate my dark matter.
Pick and choose your fare from my buffet,
   slice and dice at your leisure.

I remain comforted that form is not destiny,
For at night when I slumber and lie in repose,
The pineapples and elusive beaches of yore
Continue to appear in my hypertext dreams.

The wayfarer's path is marked only at inception
There are no boundaries, there's only conception
Streams of thought effusive, how my heart sings
In dreams I revel in the joy of small things.

... The next night ...

Hypertext Dreams Part II

I now welcome these hypertext dreams of mine
The journeys to the far regions of the mind
Staccato episodes of nighttime discovery
The torrid zone meets manifest destiny
Cross ephemeral boundaries of trancelike impressionism
An elegy to fever visions unconstrained by euphemism
Passionate mantras sound while navigating lush sites
Caution, take heed of our insatiable appetites

Fugitive memories that escape the corporeal
With lucid logic, prehensile limbs grasp the surreal
Intangible connections made with timeliness and prescience
The gift of prophecy, your networks adapt with resilience
The poor beasts culled by the pandemic are farm raised mink
All protocols observed, behold the ballad of the link

The medium equates the message, it is said,
A typographical error made serendipitous truth
In dreams, reversals of fortune are rather the rule
Gremlins and parasites dance with abandon in consonance
With nymphs and angels their counterparts providing balance
Elaborate nocturnal scenarios staged for interactive display
Vivid experiences immediate yet forever elusive in the light of day

In dreams, we forge the outlines of the myths we serve
The connective tissue salves and the mesh protects
We discard the waking realities we daily observe
Storytelling as restoration, deserved relief from stress
Deliverance from troubles, these bite-sized victories
Dreaming wide awake on the pathways to normalcy

hot summer by amos amit

Dreaming, a playlist

A soundrack for this note that starts off with the quintessence of dreamlike songs, Prince's ineffable The Ballad of Dorothy Parker. As for the rest, I did mention eros in passing, obsessions are many. (spotify version)

Links of a Native Son

I'm a child of the web and came into maturity when Berners-Lee, Andreeson and Fielding's creation was unleashed and shaped, it is no wonder that I've succumbed to the hypertext temptation in my work and, indeed, in my creative process.

There is no set formula to what I write but I do sometimes discern a few trends in my writing. Liminal links play a role.

Annotating with links is akin to writing in code and laying down references and pointers. Hypertext serves to flesh out an informational mesh, a network of thought. It admits that one is not definitive but, also, that the story builds on prior iterations and arguments.

A carapace of insight built incrementally and revisited anew. An exoskeleton of wordplay and affirmation. Such is my asylum.

The archetypal toli intervention consists of snap judgement, changing the frame, case studies, and arguments by analogy. When weaving these strands together, I tend to play with which aspects I emphasize and, of late, satirical parables serve my purposes.

When it comes to form, however, the typical bit of toli might have some prose, a photo, and a playlist. Sometimes it's a poem or a play instead of prose. Sometimes a poem augments the prose or serves as counterpoint. I'm not wedded to form and the muse indulges my roving mind.

Oftentimes I don't get to a photo, I'm not very visual or much into aesthetics. Mostly though, I do seem to require a playlist to resolve things satisfactorily in my mind and consider matters closed. Photos and music seem to soothe things, a balm for both this writer and the reader.

A few times, I've found that the playlist says it all, and might be both the starting and the end point - the prose, if any, is mere decoration in those instances. Perhaps it's a pathology, but writing sometimes comes so easily that I might spend more considerably more time crafting the playlist.

This multi-media and hypertextual approach poses a dilemma if one presents onself as a "writer". Perhaps this is why writer is sandwiched between "omnivorous reader" and "music lover" in my bio.

Thus I'm comfortable presenting myself as a web native writer rather than a book "author". My terrain is hypertext and my "books" of toli so far have been online affairs. I remain seduced by the immediacy of hypertext.

A frustration that editors have with me is that my brand of toli seems to linger in cyberspace and often refuses to be caged to the printed page. Blame the link, I'm resigned to dense hypertext and the judicious link. The temptation of the annotation.

I've noticed, per server logs, that photos seem to help in the popularity stakes. It's not that I sometimes tackle harrowing topics that need trigger warnings or that my writing is especially challenging, readers like photos.

So. Photos might be a better way to get whatever point I need across concisely. Picture, thousand words... yada yada. Still, I'm not a visual person hence I'll always lose in the acquity stakes... collages and juxtapositions are the most elaborate I get. And as for video creations, well those are the stuff of dreams.

But maybe I'm fooling myself crafting narratives, most people simply don't read much or, indeed, deeply - we're all busy and attention is scarce. The metaphor of surfing the web endures even if the majority these days are rather scrolling through feeds and video entertainments. I count mercies that anyone engages with what I offer.

And I even got two poems out of it, such is my asylum

But enough of the navel gazing, my purpose with the foregoing was only to lay down a mood marker, to note the wayfarer's change in routine in this season of migration to the torrid zone.

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