Monday 1 June 2009

Anniversary Narratives: Introduction

Given the demonstrated interest of the OnFiction editors in travelogues, history, narrative, and even fiction, it may come as no surprise to readers that we will pause from our usually scheduled programming this week to reflect in a series of posts on the nature of the first year of this endeavor.

Over the course of this week, each of the five editors of OnFiction will present a short tour through the highlights of this year, taking advantage of the comfortably worn-in trope of the anniversary to savor particularly nice posts that have – in the transient way of online publishing – come and gone, perhaps without quite enough conversation, or to re-explore features of the archives that have matured into lovely young resources with stories of their own.

Frankly, I am looking forward to these tours perhaps even more than the average reader; not only have I been ruminating over threads of old posts still uncommented upon (and yet somehow affording comment) – David Miall’s post on Literariness, for example, was quite striking, particularly in juxtaposition to the recent conversation on The Actor Problem and both have stayed with me waiting for me to think further on them ­– but also, as a multiple outlier in the group (not a psychologist, and not even in Canada), I’m looking forward to the tow through the nooks and crannies of this site that others have developed whilst I, perhaps, was lost musing on literariness.

As a person somewhat preoccupied with navigating real and metaphorical space and wayfinding (as my recent posts on psychogeographies reveal), and as a bit of a general information nerd fascinated by categorization and the organization of information, I will kick off our week of celebration and reminisce with a guide to two very practical parts of the site. I think some people might miss these two tools, so I highlight them because they help to transform the site from an entertaining scrolling window of interesting posts to a quite fascinating archive of neverendingly useful resources and thoughts (if I may reveal my admiration for my colleagues’ work on the archives quite baldly).

First, at the right of the page in grey text, you will find the modest link “Click Here For Our Reader’s Guide.” This dynamic guide provides a quick orientation to the site, and is particularly useful if you’re interested in topical tags, understanding how things are organized (or how organization has changed), or in participating in writing for OnFiction. (It also reflects our ongoing effort to properly categorize things – if there are categories you find you wish we had, or wish we wrote about, I would very much like to hear comments: anniversary reflections are traditional times for considering reform and grand plans for the future.)

Second, at the top left of your screen, you will find a somewhat more prosaic, if still infinitely useful search field. (I’ve highlighted both tools in red on the tiny title photo, in case readers have habituated as thoroughly as some of the editors had when they finally discovered this tool.) The “search blog” button allows you to search back through previous posts in this site for that phrase or word or commenter that you’ve been ruminating about but can’t quite place. This also transforms the space of the blog from a long scroll to the wonder of hyperspace – where I will leave you with only the faintest hint of the possibilities for purposeful wandering in that sort of arrangement of space. Enjoy the search, and thank you readers and other writers for reading and writing us through our first year.

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