January 4, 2007
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Of Day, Of Night

Of Day, Of Night

The new issue of Cambridge University's Gown has a fine review of Megan Heyward's Of Day, Of Night. Rose Hepworth writes that Of Day, Of Night is a

reassuring, faith-restoring new media [work] in which the reader is no longer a casualty in the crossfire between a compelling narrative and interactivity. Megan Heyward brings about a harmonious coexistence, which is skillfully braided together.

Hepworth does a lovely job of exploring the way Of Day, Of Night relates to Shelley Jackson's hypertext, Patchwork Girl. Both hypertexts are concerned with the difference between the reader's choices, the writer's choices, and the character's choices. Both gain narrative intensity from the contrast. But Hepworth observes that

Whereas Jackson's text and protagonist draw strength from the visibility of their seams, it is the seamless nature of Heyward's text that beckons and bewitches.

I think that "seamless" is not precisely right here. Cinema can be seamless, but I think interaction necessarily exposes articulation. But Jackson revels in exposing the stitches, while Heyward's joinery is careful and fine: you can see her dovetails and enjoy them, but they are tightly pegged, sanded, and polished.

Navigating the world of Megan Heyward's of day, of night is to experience the succulent, polyphylectic language of new media writing at its beautiful, poetic, and compelling best.