Life is an exercise in identity creation. My latest is myself as storyteller for myself, the reader and the designer. Story teller for myself goes back as long as I can remember, but those keeping track are free to choose the ninth grade experience with A Farewell to Arms, the gap year between chemical engineering and philosophy or the summer I began writing UP. The reader might reasonably choose the publication of The Time Traveler’s Fool; the purist, perhaps, might prefer The Jumper. The designer hearkens back to the days of human factors engineering and team leading. I call this the latest because the designer has returned to the forefront of my attention as the writing of The Shootout at the Coal County Courthouse has evolved. I had referred to Shootout as the Infinite Jest of Appalachia in a thematic sense before the phrase took on connotations of humorous comment on the creative process. Though not quite infinite, the writing has taken on the quality of a marathon. It requires many steps; many, many steps that I find benefit from what some might consider a program of distraction. After months of complete absorption in the characters and setting I have found that my best writing comes after respites where I let it all grow subconsciously. To do that I need absorption in something else and while seeking such absorption I have discovered an opportunity to explore new characters and settings, real life ones, while developing techniques for the emotional design of enterprise experience. The experience of returning to user experience research has been challenging in ways emotional and otherwise and I look forward to challenges every weekday that carry me deeply into the design of technology from which I return every weekend with gusto to the fictional territory of Coal County.
I wanted to write a classic regular folks would actually read. I wanted to write an adventure academics would find resonant with meaning. You tell me how well I did.