Still, it's a cliche that machines, however sophisticated, don't really know anything about us, about people in general or individually. It takes a human to be able to make a judgment (however subjective) about someone from the fact that they listen to Oasis. Because the omniscient narrator is so nineteenth century, I wanted to play with the intersection between precise data and limited understanding. I liked the idea that the machine might know what URLs we load, but not what the content is or what it means. They might get more insight into SMS messages, but voice recognition is a conspicuously missing iPhone feature, so all it would have access to is date, time, duration, and the phone numbers involved. Metadata, not substance.
And, if my last WFC entry was overly influenced by reading Amy Hempel, this time I was in the middle of reading Adverbs, by Daniel "Citroid Snicket" Handler, which is in a way the perfect cross-pollination for me since most things I write tend to turn into some flavor of love story, and Adverbs contains several flavors of the genre. I like to think that Handler would approve of my flipping the obsession that some people have for their electronic toys. The "my new boyfriend is so great, everything he does is just great, because it is him doing it" song is grating in real life, but I hope it is a least slightly entertaining when it's a phone who feels that way about how it's being used by its owner.
The other thing that characterizes many of my love stories is that they tend to be vaguely tragic. I had this image of the abandoned phone calling out to its owner at the end, which steered me toward incorporating some catastrophic event that knocks out or overloads the network for a while before that last call. When I first formed the idea, Adam wasn't involved in bringing the disaster about, but then there didn't seem much point to telling his story, and it would have been hard to convey any sense of what had happened from the phone's eye view.
By the way, I did in fact write much of the story itself on an iPhone, using its "Notes" feature. I was tempted to try to mimic the yellow legal-pad look of that application (complete with its terrible Marker Felt font), but I figured that would be too cruel. I settled for a really narrow text block because if I had to scroll a lot while writing it, damnit, you should too. My phone, by the way, clearly doesn't love me because it doesn't support Notes in the landscape orientation, when that keyboard layout is obviously superior.
FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN'T had enough of this yet, here's a CRwM-style annotated version of "The 411."
OH, AND ABOUT THE WFC Book ... um, yeah. I have sadly neglected it for a time (along with a couple of PMs that are still open in other tabs as I type). However, I have a nefarious plot brewing, about which more anon.
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