Blog Post

Fallow Field Republished at Authoring Software

Judy Malloy, a pioneer of electronic literature and author of Women, Art, and Technology (The MIT Press, 2003) has republished the electronic literary work, "Fallow Field" (published originally in the Iowa Review Web, 2004), with a new foreword at her site Authoring Software.  Here is an excerpt from the foreword:  

"Fallow Field is a short work of fiction, published in 2004 in The Iowa Review Web, that chronicles the breakdown of a marriage. Composed in 30 segments of text that we used to refer to regularly in the pre-mobile era (when the affordances of screen space made chunked text an authorial decision instead of a necessity) as "lexias," it was originally penned in May 1993 as I puddle-jumped up the continent on four different legs of a Southwest Airlines flight from Dallas to Detroit to attend my first academic conference at the University of Michigan. Once the words were recorded on paper, I changed little -- they flowed so easily from my head to hand.

As repugnant as the two main characters are, they exist as envisioned -- hard as dried earth and passionate to the point of folly -- because they remediate characters of great Western myths. I had just completed my PhD exams and was preparing to write a dissertation on Homer's Penelope when I wroteFallow Field. The previous two years were spent learning ancient Greek and beginning my translations of Homer, AntigoneThe Bacchae, parts of the Oresteia, and other Greek texts. The archetypal power struggle between women and men (e.g. Hera and Zeus, Helen of Troy and Menelaus, and Klytemnestra and Agamemnon) was an idea swarming in my head like the Furies themselves. I had to release it (and, so, them) and make sense of it for a contemporary culture in a way that did not merely attempt to tell the same stories.

For that reason, Fallow Field is set in no particular place or time and reflects no one culture, and the protagonist remains nameless throughout. Certainly those who know me may recognize, however, the strong Texas Gulf Coast influence, particularly its people, terrain, and sensibilities that inflect most of my literary work. I have to admit now clearly 20 years after writing the story that the female character's voice -- not her words, mind you -- is my own mother's, truly a force of nature in all its tempestuousness. For better or worse, she, like the chthonic goddesses of ancient Greece, was deine, or "awe-inspiring" -- the descriptor used for all them by Homer. My mother required, therefore, like them, the immortality that myths provide. Fallow Field was intended as a gift to her, for she lives on, online, railing at the elements and her fate in all her fearsome and muddy glory."  Read more.

Here is a direct link to Fallow Field:


--Dene Grigar


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