December 1996

Root Page of Article: Going Into the Woods, by Christine Boese

Journeys and Destinations: Metadiscourse

I feel the need to offer some reassurance about the self-indulgence of my approach to this hypertextual essay. I am deliberately choosing to make the form of my meandering narrative reflect the content of the story itself, with all its associationally linked tangents and asides. In both form and content, I emphasize the journey over the destination, whether it is exploring a woods, driving cross-country, or navigating this hypertext.

Yes, it is a lot to ask of a reader, to venture off the path, climb a tree, dig a hole, build a fort, or catch minnows in the crick. This whole issue of CMC Magazine will challenge your reading skills, attention span, and linear bias in similar ways.

However, I don't want to over-beg your indulgence. If I have done my job in hypertext in a skillful fashion, you will want to stay with me. If not, you will bug out, and I would be the last one to blame you. I have seen a lot of garbage masquerading as high art in hyperfiction. I have also seen good writing defeated by the medium of screen reading. The jury is still out over whether an art form of hyperfiction will prevail.

And despite the success or failure of its current form, I hesitate to pass judgment on anything besides aesthetics. The medium itself is on a journey, and if this form and style passes away, perhaps something better adapted to the medium will arise to replace it.

Go into the Woods.

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