Behold, the artist, the master, the model:
The Brilliant Tao Lin
Tao Lin is known best for his novel Eeeee Eee Eeee, but has much more content online than in print. He has a variety of essays, poems, and illustrations available on his website that are best experienced electronically. One of his works, titled “Today The Sky is Blue and White with Bright Blue Spots and a Small Pale Moon and I Will Destroy Our Relationship Today”contains miniature narratives and poems.
The main screen, shown above, includes the title and then a variety of links that take you to the different stories. Unlike the most recent pieces we have studied in class, these pages do not interconnect and link to one another, so there is no flow due to the interruption of hitting the “back” button in the browser to get to another story.
The stories themselves do not necessarily relate, rather they range from daily rants to nonsensical stream of consciousness. This kind of reading is very enjoyable because there is nothing to grasp on to while reading, and it forces you to reflect at the end of each piece. Sometimes it appears that there really is nothing deeper to the stories, and Tao Lin may be critiquing the way we are constantly looking for something more rather than reading for pure entertainment (something English majors are certainly guilty of).
Some of the pieces Tao includes do address a relationship between the speaker and a woman or family member. He captures the elements of conversation, from things he believes should be said at certain moments such as the phone conversation between the speaker and Dana, to the dull murmur of conversation fillers such as reading signs as your driving, both of which are found in “Go To the Beach”. These observations of everyday interactions are prominent in Tao Lin’s work.
Some of the other stories within “Today The Sky is Blue and White…” resemble paranoid rants or anxious thought processes, such as “Candace” where the speaker is dealing with an ex-girlfriend and Tao looks at the difference between the things we do that we don’t want to do and things we do without thinking, etc.
Overall these stories are enjoyable to read through and definitely exemplify Tao Lin’s extremely modern writing style, something I find fascinating and love reading over and over. Having this particular set of stories available electronically is beneficial as opposed to in print because it doesn’t seem to force a certain order of reading on the reader. You can choose to click at random, in order right to left, top to bottom, bottom to top, etc. With the presentation being so free and non-imposing on the reader, it reflects perfectly the writing style itself and leaves the reader to create their own experience.
I read Eeeee Eee Eeee for a previous class and since then have always been interested in Lin’s work. I really like this site and it works for the style that Lin’s trying to display. It seems that he wanted each poem and narrative to be read a a separate work and making the reader go back to the main page before continuing to another is a really efficient way to do that. It leaves the piece as whole open to the reader’s interpretation, whether they choose to view it as one large piece or many small pieces held together by a common URL.
I appreciate your blog post on Tao Lin, partially because I’m in an English major and it’s nice to see someone who promotes reading for fun instead of reading for analytical purposes. The way Tao presents conversations is fascinating, how even the little “pointless” conversations matter, because people tend to not find any meaning to them but there is a point. I like the freedom you point out in reading things electronically and how it gives readers different experiences. The only thing I wanted more of was more of Tao Lin’s bio and knowing him as a writer.
Much like my body —a Wunderkammer, I thought the applications of the hypertext form to this poem made it far more interesting as a autobiographical piece. Similarly to Wunderkammer, we are shown multiple hypertext doors to various vignettes that, while they are less actively connected than in Wunderkammer, do what I believe to be a wonderful job of abstractly tethering together the complex and nonreducible musings and sentiments of a real person, as “fictional” as one might frame the stories told within the poem to be. Just like in Wunderkammer, when initially presented with the different hypertext doors in the poem, we have little idea what kind of narrative each click will whisk us away to. Yet as we click away, these seemingly unrelated stories show us an image of person that is uninhibited by the desire to portray them in one particular light. Instead, we are offered insights into the wide variety of different pressures and desires and interpretations that make us such complex creatures.