Author Guest Post: Natalia Theodoridou
2018-01-23 · by Stewart C Baker
“All Those Parties We Didn’t Cry At” was originally published in Daily Science Fiction–minus the interactive bits, i.e. the passages that address the reader directly and ask them to perform certain actions.
The story itself was a response to a Rumi quote:
You left and I cried tears of blood. My sorrow grows. It’s not just that You left, but when You left, my eyes went with You. Now how will I cry?
This is where the premise of a tear drought originated. The rest flowed from there.
For me, this is a story about repressed emotion, but not on the level of the individual; it’s about the inability of an entire stratum of people (be it a society, a culture, a generation, or a particular intersection of experience) to express the enormity of its trauma.
So what do you do when nobody can cry any more? Throw a crying party. Of course. What else? Everyone’s invited.
The story’s interactive version stems in large part from my work with Adrift Performance Makers (@AdriftPM), a theatre collective that explores site-specific digital performance with a strong interactive/immersive component.
I wanted to wander into a different kind of interactivity with this piece, one that does not focus on the interplay between reader and text, but between the reader and the world as prescribed by the text. In this sense, the piece becomes a performance, an event created by reader and text both. But isn’t that what happens, to greater or lesser extent, with any text activated by its reader in the act of reading?
I think this is partly what drew me to interactive fiction in the first place: the ability to capitulate on something that is, to me, a fundamental aspect of reading. I read the text, the text reads me, together we read the world.