For my first piece, I used Edde Addad’s eDiastic text generator to create a Diastic poem. I recently performed Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, so I decided to use this as my source text. Here is a link to the text: http://www.opensourceshakespeare.org/views/plays/play_view.php?WorkID=midsummer&Act=1&Scene=1&Scope=scene I entered the first few speeches from Act 1, Scene 1 as the input and used a famous line from the play (“The course of true love never did run smooth”) as the seed text. The result is below.
This she step
companion not daughter marry rings trifles
to Or hour wanes
lingers to revenue steep
night New love thee injuries
duke with and
rhymes sung fantasy
sweetmeats Immediately provided behold night
This outcome did not surprise me too much. All of the words I was already familiar with are there, just in a strange order. I like the juxtaposition of several of the images from different speeches that have different tones: there are sweet ones (marry rings trifles) and harsh ones (obedience, injuries). It is almost as if the piece captured a jumbled snapshot of the first part of Midsummer. I did not feel as though it cast a new light on the source text, however. The piece served more to summarize and re-contextualize a text that I was already familiar with.
My second piece utilized the context-free grammar text generator. I simply followed the steps through, adding my own sentence formula (I added a possible prepositional phrase) and different adjectives, verbs, and nouns. I chose the words somewhat randomly – some just came into my head, some I asked my roommates for, but none were chosen for any purpose or significance. Pictures of my steps and the completed piece are below.
the alarm clock fished the bloody blanket
a shoe had fished with a shoe
the birch tree helped
the happiness watched
the spunky happiness watched the bloody happiness with a shoe
a shoe watched
Interestingly enough, the outcome of this generator did surprise me. Since I had created the formula and entered the words, I thought I knew what the result would be on some level. However, many of the combinations still surprised me. For instance, I thought it was interesting how some words came up many, many times while others that I had entered on the spreadsheet were never used at all. I also (for some reason) expected the outcome to be a little more coherent. The result surprised me, but in a good way. I enjoyed some of the juxtapositions quite a bit.
Overall, I did not feel incredibly responsible for these two pieces. With the first piece, more than any other meditation we have done so far, I felt almost completely powerless to the generator. The only choice I seemed to make was the source text, and the rest was totally the generator. I did not feel like I had much agency. The second piece was a little better – at least I had, on some level, chosen the words that eventually made up the piece. Still, though, the text generator made it into a piece for me. It was an interesting to create without actually feeling like I was creating. I almost feel as if I can’t put my name on the two pieces. It really opened my eyes to a large aspect of uncreative writing.