Notebook of Sand

• Recent Publications
• Recent Projects
• Conferences & Speaking
"Comparing Spatial Hypertext Collections"
  ACM Hypertext '09
"Archiving and Sharing Your Tinderbox"
  Tinderbox Weekend London '09
"The Electronic Nature of Future Literatures"
  Literary Studies Now, Apr '09
"The World University Project"
  St. John's Col. Cambridge, Feb '09
"Ethical Explanations,"
  The New Knowledge Forge, Jun '08
Lecture, Cambridge University
  Tragedy in E-Lit, Nov '07
Hypertext '07: Tragedy in E-Lit
Host for Tinderbox Cambridge '07
Keynote: Dickinson State Uni Conf
Upper Midwest NCHC'07: Speaker
eNarrative 6: Creative Nonfiction
HT'05: "Philadelphia Fullerine"
  Nelson award winning paper
NCHC '05:
 Nurturing Independent Scholarship
Riddick Practicum:
  Building Meeting Good Will
NCHC '04:
  Philadelphia Fullerine
  Lecture on American Studies
WWW@10: Nonfiction on the Web
NCHC '03: Parliamentary Procedure
ELL '03 -- Gawain Superstar
• (a)Musing (ad)Dictions:

Ideas. Tools. Art. Build --not buy. What works, what doesn't. Enjoy new media and software aesthetics at Tekka.

Theodore Gray (The Magic Black Box)

Faith, Life, Art, Academics. Sermons from my family away from home: Eden Chapel!

My other home: The Cambridge Union Society (in 2007, I designed our [Fresher's Guide])

The Economist daily news analysis

Global Higher Ed blog

• Hypertext/Writing

Writing the Living Web

Chief Scientist of Eastgate Systems, hypertext expert Mark Bernstein. (Electronic) Literature, cooking, art, etc.

Fabulous game reviews at playthisthing.

• Stats

Chapter I: Born. Lived. Died.

There is a Chapter II.

Locale: Lancaster County Pa, USA

Lineage: Guatemala

Religion: My faith is the primary focus of my life, influencing each part of me. I have been forgiven, cleansed, and empowered by Jesus Christ. Without him, I am a very thoughtful, competent idiot. With him, I am all I need to be, all I could ever hope for. I oppose institutional religious stagnation, but getting together with others is a good idea. God is real. Jesus Christ is his Son, and the Bible is true. Faith is not human effort. It's human choice. I try to be the most listening, understanding, and generous person I can.

Interests: Anything I can learn. Training and experience in new media, computer science, anglophone literature, education, parliamentary debate, democratic procedure, sculpture, and trumpet performance. Next: applied & computational linguistics, probably.

Education: Private school K-3. Home educated 4-12. Graduated Summa Cum Laude from Elizabethtown College in Jan 2006. As the 2006 Davies-Jackson Scholar, I studied English at St. John's College, Cambridge University from 2006 - 2008.

Memberships: Eden Baptist, Cambridge Union Society, ACM, AIP, GPA.

Alum of the Elizabethtown College Honors Program, sponsored by the Hershey Company.

As If
Wednesday, 11 Jul 2007 :-:

Storm and cloud enshroud a rugged and dreary landscape.[....]
The swollen stream rushes furiously down a dark ravine,
     whirling and foaming in its wild career,
[....] the helm of the boat is gone, and he looks imploringly toward heaven,
as if heaven's aid alone could save him from the perils that surround him.

notes on "Manhood" from "The Voyage of Life", paintings by Thomas Cole.

The two key words in Cole's notes for this painting are "as if". By itself, the painting provides no means of hope. The airy castles of "Youth" and the blissful garden of "Childhood" are far behind. There is no angel here. The only light, choked by dense clouds, only succeeds in putting peril into relief. Thus, "as if" is not a statement about the foolishness of the man's prayer; it is a statement on the nature of his faith, which seeks God "as if" he exists, when even light has failed.

At the St. John's College Christian Union, we are going through prayers in the Bible over the summer. This week's prayer, from Habakkuk 3, presents a similar situation to Cole's painting. How do we relate to a God whose majesty "made the nations tremble", who according to Habakkuk, torments the earth with judgement-- a God of plague and pestilence, who brings anguish and distress in his pursuit of total justice? And what good is faith when our emotion and experience fail to transcend but instead become barren or dismal?

** * **

Answers to these questions are not sufficient. Habakkuk's response is inspiring precisely because it's so ridiculous:

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD;

It's an extreme statement of faith to attribute both suffering and sustenance to the same person. Habakkuk continues:

I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
GOD, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer's;
he makes me tread on my high places.

This isn't so much a prayer as it is an outburst of desperation, resolution, and desire; not unlike a mantra. It holds Habakkuk to a standard, but to acknowledge need is also to insist upon God. Here, in this dire moment, heaven and earth must meet and work together for anything good to survive.

Many people live within societal desolation like that which Habakkuk or the protagonist of "Manhood" were facing. But as Christians, we are all refugees. And wherever we are, we must hold fast to our faith. For if we do not stand firm in our faith, we will not stand at all.