Woke up this morning to find that the latest issue of DIAGRAM went live, putting my essay, “A Rapi I Wroteii“, out into the world. It’s not the first piece I’ve published online, but it’s the best one. The essay’s about a real-life rap I really wrote back in college. I was especially glad DIAGRAM took the piece, not only because it’s maybe the best online magazine out there, but also due to the attention editor Ander Monson pays to diagrams, coding, and the physical form of digital texts.
You’ll see that the essay uses footnotes. I annotate the rap text and therein lies the essay’s bulk. Pale Fire on a smaller scale, but more importantly less narratively progressive. I’ve never been sure about this piece. When I’d read it through it felt paltry at the end. It doesn’t work very well as a piece to read through start to finish. I think it works best to read the rap as a whole, and then read it again, following to each footnote when it comes. Then back to text and back to footnote and on and on.
Endnotes would be the only way to get it to work on the page, in, say, an anthology. But endnotes that got their own page. Ideally, some whiz would code up a Flash-based thing wherein the footnotes would perform as pop-up windows, only one of which could appear at a time.
I can’t say that J. Nicholas Geist’s Infinity Blade review was an influence, but I will say I wish I’d’ve thought of its form, and that I’d like once again to write an essay that works better on the screen than on the page, that taps into the Internet’s absorptive powers, and not just its distractive ones.