So, I’ve alluded previously to having taken a digital poetics class last spring. It was great, I made a lot of stuff, and had a good time learning and re-learning some coding skills and figuring out ways they might be useful in my creative work.

Anyway, at the end of the semester, the department apparently had some money for “research,” I applied for it, got it, and so made a Chrome app that would let you select text from the web and then make erasure poetry out of it. It’s called Verse Finder:

Verse Finder Screenshot

It’s even got some options and things now, in large part thanks to Alia’s user testing (i.e., she was the user; Alia is my fiancée, she is great).

It’s built entirely in vanilla Javascript, which apparently does a helluva lot more than it did the last time I learned Javascript, and I even used a “library” or two to do color things that otherwise would have taken a lot longer to add. It was a very good learning experience, and frankly I enjoyed working on it a lot. Will probably do more web stuff. Maybe make a habit of it. Anyway, some things about it:

  • Github:
  • Developing for Chrome Extensions was kind of great because it forced me to do everything via external JS files, as Chrome doesn’t allow inline code (i.e., no “onclick” events). This required that I learn some things.
  • Ditto re: libraries.
  • The beautiful thing about coding is that it doesn’t necessarily sap the same energy as my writing work does, so a lot of the time (since I’ve been working at my job less) I was able to both spend some good hours coding and some good hours writing in the same day, which is marvelous and makes me feel like maybe coding wouldn’t be a bad while-also-trying-to-be-a-novelist job. Because writing and doing technical writing was hard. I am also a lot older and wiser(?) now, though.
  • If anyone wants to learn Chrome extensions, I benefited greatly from this series of YouTube tutorials. Really good/helpful stuff. Especially if you (like me) are new to reading API docs.

There’s probably more I could say, but at the very least, it was a good job having to learn to get it all together within a specific time frame. Not unlike getting the school projects ready for this expo thing at the end of the semester.

tl;dr: making stuff is cool.