Author's Note - Intruder


I took this picture of a hummingbird while re-visiting

the trail up to the marble quarry at Marble Colorado,

the setting for my first hypertext, Marble Springs,

(Eastgate Systems, 1993). The little Rufus

hummingbird had staked out her nest on a low pine

branch just under the recently opened quarry, where

marble dust hides the entire scene in a constantly

falling talcum curtain. I was leaning back on the

cliff wall of the narrow, steep trail so I could see

the mountains on the horizon. She came out of her

nest, wings beating furiously, warning me off. Then

she carefully hovered above her eggs, silently staring

at me as if to warn me off forever. Yet I called my

friend back over to the tree and we stayed, entranced

by this creature not two feet from us. We wanted to

take her picture, to explore her company. We tortured

that hummingbird with our presence for about 20

minutes while she constantly berated us with her eyes.

Guess I shouldn't confess this in an author note, but

the parallels between that hummingbird guarding her

nest and me guarding my first hypertext run deep. I

had immersed myself in the possibilities of

connections without words, of meanings in navigation

and structure. I wanted to share the joy and

excitement of hypertext, to show the possibilities in

this new medium. Yet at the same time, I cringed when

people actually intruded on my space and explored my

hypertext——a place that meant much more to me more

than mere words.

Hypertext and new media writing (as it calls itself

now) provide an artform that goes beyond storytelling

and poetry to form a space where meaning can take on

new and compelling forms. This space is at once more

intimate and personal and yet more distancing than

linear text or spatial art. It is a place you can

feel at home in, a place you want to protect from

intruders. But it is an incredible place to intrude

on, full of impossible vistas to exlore.