Sunday, 13 March 2011

Alan Bigelow & Alan Bigelow: An Interview With Myself

Why did you become a digital writer?

In 1999,  I was standing at the end of a paper trail. Behind me lay twenty-plus years of traditional text writing with some successes in publications and a limited notoriety; at my feet were an unfinished novel, some story ideas, and the sterile dust of a publishing industry with little or no interest in nomads like myself.

And up ahead? Just trees and brush, but I was a Connecticut boy, and used to breaking trails, so I went ahead, and the path led me to the Web.

I was already on the web, of course, but that was earlier on the trail. Now, further on, I was bored with simply words. Words can make a powerful spell, but they are not enough for the web. The web is multimedia. It abhors a visual vacuum. It wants to please the eye and the ear.  And with that kind of platform, words are not good enough.

So I embarked on, my first multimedia story, and after that "Wander Wire." Then I wrote (can you say "wrote" anymore?) my first web novel, and one of the first multimedia novels for the web, Sixteen stories and poems later, and I'm still creating digital work on

Do you own a Kindle?

Yes, I am glad you asked! I love it. I am waiting for it to have a touch screen...

Do you have a particular process that you use to create a digital story or poem?

I get this question a lot, and the answer is different every time....

The creation of a new piece usually begins with a concept or an idea. Then I lay down some text. Even for a practiced writer like myself, this part is challenging and often, well, frightening. What if the words don't come? What if  I've lost my touch with writing? What if I over-write when I need a conservation of language?

The questions go on and on, but if I force my way past them, there are usually some words waiting on the other side.

Then I fiddle around with the visual template. I fiddle and fidget. I fix and fumble. I form and reform.  Sometimes,  I go back to the text and fiddle with that so it will fit within the frame of the visual template; other times I change the visual template so it can hold the text.

Next I put the two together, and the fun begins. I play with the piece. I torture it or tickle it. I kick or kiss it. Anything to make it sing.  This might go on for days, even weeks, until the text and visuals are synthesized into a unified whole.

The last step is the audio. I layer the audio in until it, too, is synthesized with the rest.

Three or four months have passed. When I am done, my hair is always a bit grayer and a bit more scarce on my head. I am exhausted and elated. And sometimes I am sad. I am sad the work is over and there is nothing for me to do.

Do you own an iPhone?

Yes, I am so glad you asked! What a wonderful device. I love it, but because it is not Flash-enabled, the iPhone will not play any of my webyarns....

Do you create everything in your work, or do you hire people to help?

My wife once told me you should never try to do something that someone else can do much better than you, and in less time. In other words (I hear her say), follow the talent.

I do most of the work myself, but I have help. I will not think twice about using a royalty-free image from, or an audio file from If I am looking for video of a certain type (old black and white training films or documentaries), I go to It's all legal and ethical, and I always credit my sources (as long as I can remember them. Sometimes, I'll pick up some trifle from a random web surf. Not knowing I am going to use it later on, I forget to note the source).

It takes a lot of work to create multimedia stories for the web. To build every element from scratch would seriously impede an artist's ability to produce work.

Do you own a car?

This is a strange question, and I am not sure why you are asking it....

Do you ever internet date? 

Again, I wonder why you ask. This is a private matter.

Can you share your telephone number with us, please? 

NOTE: The interview was terminated at this point. The author has not responded to follow-up emails, and his telephone is disconnected.

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