Posts Categorized: Nonfiction

Why the Internet is great for literature ★

In the newest DIAGRAM (11.5), Eric LeMay’s nonfiction piece, “Losing the Lottery,” is presented in Flash. You click six lottery numbers, and while you read through each of the forty-nine sections, you’re also playing a simulation of the lottery with your numbers, at a rate of $100 a second. It’s a clever and powerful construction, and also incredibly hypnotic—I was unable to stop staring at the screen as I plowed through thousands of dollars. I wondered if the code was really random, if I might strike the six-match jackpot early. I had nothing to lose but time. I didn’t have to insert a coin or swipe a card or even click a button; the numbers rattled through without me. My eyes glazed as I considered what I could have bought instead of the tickets: a jetski. Five years’ worth of gas. Six laptops. I finally left the page after I lost thirty thousand dollars.

“Losing the Lottery” is an excellent example of what the online format makes possible. I admire this piece because it’s something that can’t happen on a static piece of paper. It’s interactive; it moves; it’s ambitious. “The Switch” by Pierce Gleeson is another terrific example.

Photo by Madonovan via flickr.

An Excerpt from Jackson Blair’s “Glacier”

 

I booked my train ticket on a Tuesday.  That Thursday, as Hannah and I descended my porch, the neighborhood bungalows neatly arrayed in the low sun, she abruptly called things off, citing my uncertainty as grounds for ending the relationship.  We were on our way to meet friends and, stumbling towards some kind of dignity, I continued on without her.  My first thought was to cancel my Glacier trip.  Recalling my purpose–and the non-refundable train tickets–those thoughts were swiftly dismissed.  I simply had more to think about on my trip than I expected.  Or less, as the case might be.  I felt knocked outside of my own story, a step behind whatever events I’d been projecting before me. […]

From “Glacier” by Jackson Blair, Indiana Review 33.1
Photo by Marshall Wilson via National Geographic
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