Shirtless Others

All right, Jason Ockert’s Shirtless Others is something to behold.  You have to bleed a shark to death with your cursor just to read the short. Despite an overgenerous use of the words “my lover,” the story is wildly disturbing in its spare language and shift in interactive illustration at the end.

I’m usually not much of a fan of interactive media, preferring to let my left brain do just about the only thing its actually works for: associating images and emotions with words.  I’d like to believe that if I’d spent as much time following the migratory patterns of edible birds and hunting for food by way of the sun in my childhood as I did reading, I’d be more spacially adept.  As it stands now, I’m just good for narrative.

I’m apparently a dying breed. This summer in an AP training, I was informed that “students today” have a lot of trouble associating words with meaning because they are much more accustomed to associating images with meaning. Somehow, they get lost in the multi-step process of associating a word with an image and then ascribing meaning to that word.  I was told that in order to help students re-associate words with meaning, I’d need to have them “visualize” the images that words bring to their minds.  This involves, I think, asking them to shut their eyes every few minutes and paint a picture of what’s happening in the text behind their eyes.

This is how I get old.  This is how I notice age.

There are gulls quietly calling in Shirtless Others, and blood is spilling while the story unfolds.  In all, a lovely marriage of image, sound, and associated language.

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