I originally started to think about "the draft" from my own experiences with e-mail. I began e-mailing with a friend of mine who I saw on a regular basis. It was therefore unnecessary for our e-mails to convey news, or information about what we had been up to. What was very quickly established as a pattern was a series of poems that were based primarily on word play in answer to the poem before and the positioning of words on the page. These elements are in particular easily manipulated with a word processor as the tool. Personally though, it was the specificity of the medium, - e-mail, that opened up the space for me to write in this way. There are a number of factors to be considered. There is most obviously the advantages inherent in word processing of being able to edit material immediately on screen, delete words , insert words
But there is also the speed of the process. The instantaneous nature of sending an e-mail somehow makes it throwaway, a quick note or memo rather than official letter. I am not talking universally by any means - obviously the content of e-mail is what makes it official or unofficial, a final copy or a draft. In this instance though, the quick process, the idea that this was a quick note in passing. Something open-ended, something that was not finite, these factors were what gave us the freedom to just simply write.
What began to be written of course gradually shifted and increasingly referenced our everyday lives. In these poems, we began to address and discuss, however abstractly, real issues that we were dealing with in our lives at that time. My point here is that if my friend had suggested to me that we discussed things through a dialogue of poetry, I probably would have laughed. And furthermore, were I to have got as far as attempting to write a poem about something specific, you probably would have found me pulling my hair out in front of a computer somewhere, a typical scene of writers block unfolding, piles of screwed up paper and all. What happened instead was that through the open-ended, non-committal space that these speedy e-mail notes created, a wider dialogue opened up that otherwise may not have begun.
"Text interfaces promote a prolix and unjudged stylistic because of the very ease with which words can be generated and manipulated, and because no version is ever necessarily final. Unlike handwriting, which is tiring, the computer invites an easy input through a set of skills so internalised that they no longer seem to block the route from thought to screen."
Sean Cubitt, Digital Aesthetics