Writing in the Information Age

Vol. 11, No. 4

In this issue, a few writers consider what it means to be writing in the Age of Information. We had submissions of poetry, essays, and fiction, along with several selections from the writers' social media posts.Co-editors for this issue are Hope Nisly and Erin Renee Wahl.

In this issue:

  • 0 read more Introduction to "Writing in the Information Age"

    Introduction to "Writing in the Information Age"

    by Hope Nisly

    "I looked at my phone, it was sitting on the counter in airplane mode. I had been offline for seventy-two hours and can remember feeling that this should be counted among the great examples of personal stoicism and moral endurance of our times." (Zadie Smith, in Swing Time.)

    In the winter of 2018, a post popped up on my Facebook feed, a friend's repost of an article by an evangelical pastor, in which the pastor stated that he did not understand progressive Christians who cry about the children in cages at the border, but care nothing for the lives ...

  • 0 read more The Drunken Mennonite Opines about Life in the Internet Age. Twice.

    The Drunken Mennonite Opines about Life in the Internet Age. Twice.

    by S.L. Klassen

    Earlier versions of these posts were published on the Drunken Menno Blog at slklassen.com as "Rage Against the Machines. Or Not" and "Check your Privacy Settings."

    Rage Against the Machines

    Some think it ironic that the region with the largest concentration of Mennonites in Canada east of Winnipeg is also a booming centre of Canada's high tech industry.

    Some find it insulting that this is ever considered ironic.

    Those who find it ironic think of Mennonites as averse to technology. When they think of Waterloo County Mennonites, in particular, they think of Old Order Mennonites who, it is ...

  • 0 read more Märchen1 / Märchen2 / To Blake / Heaven (4 poems)

    Märchen1 / Märchen2 / To Blake / Heaven (4 poems)

    by Sarah Kortemeier

    Märchen[1]

    1.

    The knock was not at the door of his room, but at the door of his heart.

    He went into the forest to lie in wait.
    He had a fresh and joyous heart.
    Before long he was much in love with the young witch.
    He carried
    delicate food to her.
    She was immediately deprived of her human form.
    She fell on her knees before him and said,
    I will take a vomiting-potion.
    So the wedding was celebrated.



    2.

    For days,
    she placed a chair,
    gave him meals,
    scolded him
    and gave him his meals,

    some days
    without ...

  • 0 read more Isaac Bauman Buys a Phone

    Isaac Bauman Buys a Phone

    by Andrew Harnish

    In the months after his breakup with Mary Elizabeth, Isaac told himself that all he had to do was survive. He repeated the injunction whenever he felt like he was in danger of collapsing in fatigue or exhaustion, and whenever he wanted to howl at the congregation's falseness. Sundays and Wednesdays, his hands heated as he sat in the meetinghouse pew beside his father. Weekdays, he squirmed in his carrel, his stomach twisting like the tarps on the roof of a failing farmer. The more his body defied him, the more clearly he understood the only truth he could ...

  • 0 read more Translation

    Translation

    by Chris Janzen

    Translation

    by Chris Janzen

    This painting depicts the curious misunderstandings which occur in the age of text, Twitter, Facebook, etc. between two parties as a result of technological mediation. Challenges of communication are complicated when commercial motivations and instinctual desires (i.e. food) are shuffled into the dialogue between a purple floating head and a masked figure.


    Translation, 2013, oil on canvas and wood, 16"x12"

  • 0 read more Dr. Spock to Dr. Google: The Internet and the Evolution of Parenting

    Dr. Spock to Dr. Google: The Internet and the Evolution of Parenting

    by Kari Sommers

    Information in my childhood home, like the cookware, furniture, and most everything else, was high-quality, sturdy, and meant to last. My parents bought the World Book Encyclopedia in 1990, as well as the Year Book supplements to update their investment annually. (Good thing, too, because the entries for Germany and the U.S.S.R. were completely rewritten within two years.) For health information, we had the Physician’s Desk Reference or the library to follow up on what our doctors told us. For cooking, we relied on the Betty Crocker and Better Homes and Gardens cookbooks, as well as a ...

  • 0 read more The Pen

    The Pen

    by Julia Baker

    A fingertip red with crushed berry seed,
    a stick carving letters in dust,
    sharpened stone pressed into clay,
    a whittled fox bone on a tablet of hardened wax,
    glue, carbon, and bone-black pigment mixed
    ink slides down bamboo onto papyrus,
    the swan’s flight feather scratches parchment,
    a quill becomes metal in our hands,
    refill the fountains, words soak
    cotton, linen and wood
    a ballpoint rolls between thin blue lines,
    a plastic stylus, silent on a illumined screen,
    fingers clack quickly now through an alphabet of keys.


    Fluid extensions of the arm
    vessels we make and fill, using what we have ...

  • 0 read more Television Taught Me Everything I Know

    Television Taught Me Everything I Know

    by Melanie Springer Mock

    One of my earliest happy memories is of watching television on a late-afternoon winter day—Sesame Street to be exact. The show must have been in its infancy then, long before Elmo’s World took over half of each episode, stealing some of Sesame Street’s joy. I remember sitting in the dark living room of our parsonage, wrapped in an afghan, noise from the kitchen a comforting reminder that mom was nearby, making dinner. Our parsonage was next to the Mennonite church, alongside busy Kedzie Avenue in a south suburb of Chicago, so traffic was no doubt zipping by our living ...

  • 0 read more Passive Aggressive

    Passive Aggressive

    by Chris Janzen

    Passive Aggressive

    by Chris Janzen

    This painting explores the unique ways that violence can be inflicted without physical action. Mennonites are traditionally aligned with the Peace position, but this does not mean conflict and aggression are absent from their lives. A passive orange pillow sits at the center of the composition, but a skull lurks at head height between the figures.


    Passive/Aggressive, 2016, oil on canvas, 4’ x 5’

  • 0 read more Funeral Announcements

    Funeral Announcements

    by Andrew Unger

    We’re each supposed to recite a poem after the horseshoes tournament. It will make Oma happy, we’ve been told. Ideally, we’re supposed to do it from memory. This may be why three of my Plett cousins have come down with mysterious summer colds and have texted our grandmother at the last minute saying they can’t make it to the family picnic this year after all. I, however, have a poem all prepared.

    It’s one my grandfather wrote about a young man who turns to God after a dangerous encounter with a mother bear and is something of a legend among ...

  • 0 read more Streaming

    Streaming

    by Chris Janzen

    Streaming

    by Chris Janzen

    This is a drawing of a central protagonist who is forever glued to their screen. There is a constant stream of content to direct our attention to at every second; the skeleton at his left is a reminder of the ultimate ramifications of gluing your eyes to your device(s) at all times.


    Streaming, 2018, graphite, charcoal, wax pencil, and acrylic on paper, 8’ x 6'

  • 1 read more Gaming and Women

    Gaming and Women

    by Jessica Ham

    Growing up, I never considered myself a gamer. I played Pokemon and Mario every day as a kid but still, I did not think of myself as a gamer. Magazines featured only games that were considered masculine. I loved video games more than anything but because of the generalization that gaming was considered a boys-only club, I never felt like I made the cut.

    Several years later, I finally played a popular game called Halo which I found to be worthy of the gamer title. I wore the gamer badge proudly and told everyone I could. It meant so much ...

  • 0 read more What Things Cost

    What Things Cost

    by Karen McKeever

    “There is no milk for the babies, and small children have never seen a piece of fruit.”
    Alice Fordham, NPR correspondent, on Daraya, Syria, July 12, 2016


    I

    After five years of war,
    children’s memories are mostly
    of hunger. Gardens and orchards
    they have not known, though the land
    once was famously fertile.
    They have not tasted soft
    dusky figs or cool musk of melon,
    raisins dried beneath a summer sky
    or salty strands of white cheese
    thickly braided. Small mouths
    do not cry for those things—
    they cry for whatever will
    fill the burning emptiness.
    When at daybreak ...

  • 1 read more Thoughts Formed for the Modern Technological Social Media Platform We Call Twitter

    Thoughts Formed for the Modern Technological Social Media Platform We Call Twitter

    by Noelle Miller-Haughton

    COLLEGE/POLITICAL

    All I wanna know is what Calvin and Hobbes would have to say about our current political climate

    I’d have to say the biggest problem with having a million dreams and aspirations is the fact that I’m absolutely the laziest person I’ve ever met

    College students are honestly so self-absorbed and think everything is about them it’s so obnoxious... anyway the dining hall didn’t have bananas today and I think they did it to spite me because they know how much I love them

    So many people in college are like “yeah, I’m a biochem/physics double major” ...

  • 0 read more Attaché in the Palace Maze / Sundew in the Cemetery (2 poems)

    Attaché in the Palace Maze / Sundew in the Cemetery (2 poems)

    by G.C. Waldrep

    ATTACHÉ IN THE PALACE MAZE

    So, pilgrimage, then, which is
    the dead blended with distance,
    the text’s thread snapped
    like a small bone in the wrist.
    You are here. The saints’
    holy example is there,
    & in between
    you will build a library
    with the small fires of your will.
    You will hoard hours
    & prepositions, as if
    from the catacombs of the flesh
    a god might scythe
    His cedars from this Lebanon.
    On that ancient ground
    I answered the call of every
    dusk-borne bird.
    My breath-shaped galley
    capsized amid its centuries,
    glass weights set on the white
    pages to ...

  • 0 read more Writing and Information: Where do we go from here?

    Writing and Information: Where do we go from here?

    by Erin Renee Wahl

    As librarians, Hope and I see the part information plays in all manner of fields and research. We help people make those connections in our daily work in a variety of ways: answering reference questions, providing instruction on researching through the library, teaching courses on information literacy, purchasing books for the library collections, and all sorts of other tasks. When we move into our own writing, we take these experiences with us. It is not lost on us that our relationship with information has altered our own writing. In this issue, we set out to explore the part that information ...