While working commercially, I studied a more art, created digital fine art, and played music “on the side” after Songmakers. I imagined that one day I would be able to apply my digital communication skills to the writing of literary interactive projects. During my introspective moments, I looked inward and did not discover a corporate communicator but the soul of an artist, literary writer, and musician screaming to be set free, to be heard, to say something meaningful, and to commune with man and womankind with all the array of communication instruments available to me. My decision to attend graduate school in creative writing came in part as a way to buy myself the time and space needed to make this literary new media exploration and transition. I opened yet another door – to new media literature.

In my Desolate Word essay, I mused as to how a new media book about Amy Beach might improve upon the long dry biography about this woman composer that I happened to be reading at the time. The book was a well-researched biography by Adrienne Block, Amy Beach Passionate Victorian: The Life and Work of an American Composer. But there was no music in it.

A book about a composer with no music.

The fact that the Beach biography was text only did not at first raise alarms. However, as I read the lengthy descriptions of her early compositions, I began to realize how absurd it was that I was reading about her music, rather than listening to it. When Block compared Beach’s work to other composers of the time, how inadequate I felt as a person desirous of appreciating her compositions that I could not hear the contrast between her work and other notables of the day. As Block explained Beach’s growth as a composer, I longed to experience that growth aurally, not simply through words on a page. I began to imagine a new media electronic book with a graphical menu system that allowed me to click on the music and hear it as I read Beach’s biographer describe it. A button that enabled me to play a few bars of a role model composer and then the bars by Beach that were derivative, and compare the two. This would not be not the same as playing a Beach CD in the background while reading; continued page 11