Machines for Contortion

Here I go again transforming my analogue self, Kathryn Hummel, into a digital version (see one of my other incarnations here): a version with the tag SA Writers Centre Digital Writer in Residence. All media are machines for contortion; to have some kind of presence on digital media seems increasingly necessary for writers, even if our engagement with it is sometimes unconscious.

When I step back; log off; shut down, I am surprised by the shift in my focus from digital to analogue and the ease of my hybrid existence between both realms. I don’t find them mutually exclusive. As a writer, I connect this hybrid to my motivation to carry on arranging words and images into creative patterns—firstly, for the pleasure of satisfying my compulsion to do so, but also to contribute to the culture surrounding me, to the zeitgeist of a digital age, and to send out words into the void, hoping for a response from Some Other Unknown.

One of the great pleasures of engaging with digital media and its various platforms is coming across a diverse group of creative people who balance their individual quests for immortality, using the creative processes particular to them, with the collective aim of developing digital writing as a genre. This kind of pluralism is one I support: one sympathetic to the assembling a few thousand disparate, peculiar and beautiful fragments belonging to the present into the grooves of one record, for a united sling back and launch. If the result is the intangible one of sending data off across a physical/digital/unknown universe, it is also one that will fracture the tendency to look too far inwards when immortality becomes a solo pursuit once more.

I suspect that the SAWC Digital Writer in Residence program will provide me with a present space from which to explore all types of artistic work—to share and expand on my skills as a digital and new media writer—and to meet (virtually) other people who unwind it. Here’s how:

  • through Friends with Drinks, a new worldwide creative collaboration mapping responses to what and where we drink. Submissions are now open at the Friends with Drinks tumblr and Facebook page
  • by finding out more about you, your work and your engagement with digital media
  • by sharing and discussing ideas and innovations involving digital approaches in writing and hybrid forms
  • through finding out what people harnessing digital approaches in their work are hoping to achieve
  • tracking the themes that emerge

The karmic chain of support between creative strangers extends worldwide and as the SAWC Digital Writer in Residence for July-August 2016 I will gladly receive and pass it on.


Words from the Cloud

“Peace out,” as they say, “I’m outta here.”

It’s come to that bitter-sweet moment, at last. James is leaving the building. The past six-weeks have flown by at an almost ridiculous pace. You know what they say, “time flies when you’re having fun etc. etc.”

I’m incredibly grateful to the SA Writers Centre for giving me the opportunity to tell an interesting, experimental story that, we can only hope, that you’ve enjoyed! Thank you, as well, to all the loyal readers who kept up with the story of Luke Bracken, The Desert and The Cloud.

The esoteric tale has come to an end (at least for now), but that doesn’t mean you can’t rewind and take it all in again. Perhaps there’s small details you missed or maybe you’ll find the story takes on a new meaning, now that you know where the electric demons came from.

Part 1 – Cold Open

Part 2 – Like This

Part 3 – Ghosts

Part 4 – Clouds

Part 5 – Roads

Part 6 – Photographic Evidence

Part 7 – Tracks

Part 8 – Dust

Part 9 – Sunset

Operation Electric Forever has been a tough project at times, mainly due to wrangling together all the different elements (text, social media, mapping etc.) but also due to the emotionally intensive process of self-reflection and exploration. In the end, Operation Electric Forever is a story for and about you and me, an ode to the often confusing, confronting and challenging world that we live in. I hope that, somehow, I’ve managed to create something relatable and honest.

Of course, I’d love to hear people’s opinions on the tale itself, the use of digital elements and any other points that need making. I won’t be gone for good, after all. I’ll be hiding behind the process of writing the final residency report for a little while yet and then heading back into creating interesting blocks of electric scribbles for your enjoyment.

You can keep up with my work by following me on Twitter (@james_wrr) or my personal travel and creative blog Electric Holy Road.

Best of luck to the next Digital Writer in Residence! I’m incredibly excited to see where your words will take us.

So, I guess that’s all, folks! Happy reading! Happy writing! Happy exploring!

Yours digitally,

James Rudd ❤️

Operation Electric Forever, was created during the SA Writers Centre Digital Writer in Residence program during 2016.

SA Writers Colour Logo copy copy


Operation Electric Forever – Part 1

Cold Open


See the boy in centre stage, illuminated and ghastly, pale back arching up towards the sky. Count the knobs and curls of the spine. Count the fine hairs on his arms and legs.


See a man draped in black, dripping in midnight satin, emerge. See his broad brimmed hat, his gloved hands, his hidden face. The Desert opens his mouth and lets out a stream of bright television static. It’s unintelligible, but also completely understandable.

“Who are you?”

See the boy. He thought, after all of it, he’d be a different person. He thought that by falling apart he would emerge as something better.

He sat hunched over his own knees, a mottled, papery and fragile human lump. With each careful brush of fingertip against skin, more came off until he sat amongst small mountains of forgotten skin, the fallout from a recent brush with the sun.

The skin underneath was not new and clean like he had wanted, but pink and violent. An eruption of pain and dryness. He’d gone through a wasteland seeking to find himself, but ended up as part of it.

He fell forward, letting legs come out from underneath him. Laying with chest against the cool grey floor, he admitted “there are no fresh starts… I couldn’t find one out there.”

“Well”, The Desert asked, “at least tell me where you are?”


Part 2 – Like This

Part 3 – Ghosts

Part 4 – Clouds

Part 5 – Roads

Part 6 – Photographic Evidence

Part 7 – Tracks

Part 8 – Dust

Part 9 – Sunset

 This is a SA Writers Centre project that will take place on the traditional lands of a number of Aboriginal nations in South Australia. We acknowledge Aboriginal people’s ongoing relationship and spiritual connection with the land, and pay our respects to their Elders past and present.

Operation Electric Forever, was created during the SA Writers Centre Digital Writer in Residence program during 2016.

SA Writers Colour Logo copy copy


An Introduction

Welcome to the Electric Forever…

12109921_1084305611587204_5414050233965725058_oIt’s an honour to be your new Digital Writer in Residence for the next six weeks! My name’s James Rudd and you’ve already (hopefully) been welcomed to my electronic work through the first introductory chapter “Cold Open”.

I am a collector, wanderer and wonderer. I have been interested in writing since childhood, the days in which I’d write about dragons fighting the cartoon characters I’d watch on television every Saturday morning.

I’m a massive advocate for digital publishing and for the freedom to experiment that comes to contemporary writers. I have spent most of my work-life online, writing reviews and news for Glam Adelaide, working in communications, sharing stories with local zine makers and writing enthusiasts at the University of Adelaide as well as publishing an ongoing thought and travel blog, Electric Holy Road!

I look forward to creating and presenting this story – of a modern problem among an ancient land – over the six week period. The great thing about using Digital Media is that we can all see the story grow and evolve in strange, unexpected ways. Let’s hope for some “happy accidents”, some fun and maybe some existential horror. I guess we’ll see what happens!

Feel free to hit me up on Twitter (@digitalwir) and keep your eyes peeled for updates and opportunities to get involved with the story.

Hello from Rebecca

adelaide writer in residence

Hi everyone,

For those who don’t know me, I’m an Adelaide-based features writer and reviewer who can usually be found lurking in a bookstore somewhere. I mostly write how-to articles, personal and opinion pieces and reviews for magazines, newspapers and websites like Jetstar MagazineThe Big IssueThe Sydney Morning HeraldABC The Drum, and SBS Comment & Analysis. I also write the odd bit of fiction (odd in every sense of the word — I love a curious mix of crime fiction and dystopian stories).

For more info on me and my digital project (a choose-your-own-adventure story using connected Twitter accounts), the SA Writers Centre kindly posted this snazzy Q&A with me, or there’s always the ‘About‘ page on this blog if you get desperate. For a laugh, there’s also my crusty old Sex and the City-themed blog I abandoned a few years ago. It was fun to write and helpful in getting my freelance writing business off the ground, but I was finding blogging was hoovering up time that could otherwise be spent on other forms of writing, hence the abandonment issues it now has.

Anyhoo, because this is really not all about me, I’d love to hear what everyone else is doing. Working on a cool writing project, digital or otherwise? Got a humblebrag about a recent success? From SA, the rest of Australia or some corner of cyberspace and wanna say hello? Found a stellar piece of interaction fiction or game online that you’ve just gotta share? Hit me!