Stephanie Strickland






Process Narrative

Stephanie Strickland works in a wide variety of digital media. While most initial generation still occurs by hand (preferrably in large engineering notebooks filled with green graph paper) her e-literature projects take place in many different programming languages and software contexts.

Early on in her career, Strickland simply transferred hand-written drafts onto an IBM Selectric typewriter. These days, however, she moves from notebook to Word 2003 to whichever programming or coding environment suits her latest collaborative project. While her notebooks function as a place to write and re-write (and sometimes even write over) collected thoughts and images, Strickland’s approach to digital creation and revision is oriented around design, unity and structure. She is particularly intersted in the way e-literature often offers access to all parts of a work at once–a structure that renders poetry almost spherical or three-dimensional. Moving from StorySpace, Director and Flash to JavaScript, Python, HTML5 Canvas, and PowerPoint, Strickland focuses on the respective gains and losses present in each new software environment.

When it comes to project completion and publication, Strickland rarely seeks a narrative arc. Instead, she finds unity via mathetmatics and structural connections, considering each project with an eye to the architecture of individual poems and pieces into a greater whole. Once a project is complete, she archives physical notebooks in boxes. Strickland does not believe in the need for exhaustive revision archives, but admits to being uncertain how best to preserve e-literature works for posterity (though she considers video to be a viable option).

Many of Strickland’s digital literature projects are highly collaborative. Whether these involve working in translation or sitting down with fellow writers and programmers to actualize an idea on the screen, she places great emphasis on partnership, communication, and digital experimentation within the writing process. Strickland also uses the term “opportunistic” to describe her practice, and draws heavily on whatever resources might be available at any given time to inform the evolution of a project. In this sense, her practice changes with each new idea, software environment, and collaborative partner(s).