A Million Blue Pages: Project Reflection By: Katie Runnoe and Brittany Brocker
From our experience with House of Leaves, we found that the reading experience is generated from more than just the words typed on the page. Since it is such an experimental book by nature, interacting with A Million Blue Pages creates a much more rich and communal familiarity with the work as a whole. Our interaction with the text was enhanced not only by our personal creation of artifacts, but also by our interpretation of those that were already created and accessible through a public page.
More specifically, by producing five artifacts of our own, we were able to interact with the text in a completely different way. Through this, we were able to examine our personal interpretation of what the text was. For example, we created an artifact for the dedication page. Since this book is, as particularly stated, “not for you,” we interpreted that Danielewski not only excludes the reader from the purpose of this book, but also the characters he created. The dedication typically is meant for the reader. However, due to the layers of narratives used in the text, Danielewski must also include the characters, because they are just as active readers as our class is. When we discussed the text as a group, and as we decided on artifacts to create, we were able to discuss our personal interpretations, as well as become more deeply acquainted with the text. Also, through our creative process, we found that we each had different editions of the text, and found that the appendix was in full color or in black and white, depending on the edition. We found that because of the presentation of the material, we thought about the text in a different way.
Furthermore, by not only creating our own artifacts, but by interacting with other artifacts created and displayed on the A Million Blue Pages site, we could expand our interpretation by learning how others understood the provided text. For example, on page xxi, we chose to focus on the fact that Zampano is blind. So, by blacking out the page, we are displaying the idea that Zampano’s idea of the Navidson Record is debatably unreliable. Since he lives in darkness, it sheds a whole new “light” on how the reader interprets his take on Will’s excursion within his mysterious house. When we look at the other posts on that page, we noticed that someone else chose to focus on the relationship between Zampano and Johnny Truant, and that their responsibility of recording the Navidson Record places them in the roles of philosophers. This is a completely different interpretation of how we saw Zampano and Johnny, but by examining how another’s interpretation fits in with ours, we can take more away from this novel than just reading it privately.
All in all, by interacting in a digital domain with others about a certain text, we are able to enhance our experience with House of Leaves. The internet allows us to discuss our ideas about the novel with others that we would normally not interact with without this website. As we create digital artifacts that encompass our ideas of the text, we can share, interact, and communicate with others to further our experience with this novel.