the on-line diary of
ralph robert moore


the official website for the writings of
ralph robert moore

Copyright © 2001 by Ralph Robert Moore.

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goodbye to jump down the hole
march 24, 2001

I've decided to close down my other website, devoted to fiction created specifically for the Web, Jump Down the Hole.

It no longer exists. If you bookmarked the URL, clicking on it now will bring you to a generic white-background page generated by the web host, 123 HostMe!, telling you the site has been deactivated.

Why did I close it down?

For one thing, it never really caught on. Although it was slowly building an audience, after a year that audience was still rather small.

But more importantly, maintaining the four fictions on the site turned out to be more than I wanted to do. Although I enjoyed everything I wrote there, to be honest with you, I felt that most of what I wrote on JDTH could be better done the old-fashioned way, as traditional stories that weren't "created specifically for the Web."

To that end, I'm in the process of writing the e-serial fiction on JDTH, As Dead As Me, as a novel (today I crossed the 50,000 word mark), and also plan to turn my fake Antarctica site into a real book.

My favorite of all the sites on JDTH was the Maddox Family Home Page, where I got to impersonate the forty year old Director of a large bio-chemistry company, and write of his (I hope) engaging struggles to survive with some dignity in this world while raising his fourteen year old daughter Cindy. It was fun extending the degree to which a writer impersonates his various characters to where I appeared on the site in various photographs as Arnie, disguised with a bulging middle-aged spread, and a bald pate. The Saturday morning Mary and I did that shoot, we started off using a bald wig we bought earlier in the week from a small masquerade shop, but because of the size of my head (I have an unusually large head), the bald cap kept popping off the top of my skull like an unenthusiastic rubber on an enthusiastic cock. As part of the "concept" of the Maddox Family Home Page, I linked Arnie's site to a series of both real and fake sites on the Internet, some of them (real and fake) linking back, blurring the boundaries between real and represented, parodying the practice so prevalent on today's Web.

What fascinated me about Arnie's site was that it was fake, even to the carefully timed guestbook entries, and yet the response to the site from most visitors was real. People wrote "me", thinking Arnie actually existed.

Which is why I do believe the Internet will produce a form of fiction specific to that medium, but I don't think we're there yet. For example, I don't think hypertext will develop into the new fiction. It's still too tied to what's already been done. Essentially, hypertext is footnotes and cross-references. What we really need is a greater, quicker way of dissembling, updated several times a day, the truth always at least one refresh/reload or two away.

Because isn't that the real magic of fiction?

Sometimes, the only way to tell the truth is by lying. Sometimes, only lies shall set Ye free.

After I wrote this article, I spell-checked it on Word. The name 'Arnie' was unrecognized, bringing up a number of suggested "valid" alternatives.

The alternatives to my lie included arena, urine, irony, urn, are, and arrange.

Regarding the word 'Arnie' itself, I could Ignore, Change, or Add.

I chose Add.