HOL Addendum Explanation

I have been working on organizing my house these last few week and going through boxes in the garage. As I was cleaning, I happened to come across a collected poetry book from my ninth grade English class, and I also found a picture of my Great-Great Grandfather Hiram Brisbin in his Civil War uniform. I don’t know why, but these items (plus a collection of poetry that my Great-Grandfather had published) really spoke to me and led me in my decisions with regard to this project. I guess they seemed important because House of Leaves was so dependent on the stories that sprang from each of the individual family relationships. I thought it might be fun to play with some of my own family history and see what happened.

Since my Great-Great Grandfather was in the Civil War, I decided that I would spend some time looking up his war records. It is amazing to me that I can go to an online database and find information that is as specific as the date he entered and left the army (148 years later, no less). I decided to use some of the information about where his regiment was stationed throughout the war in my piece, and I linked to the full text as well. I also linked to a few other pieces of pertinent information regarding the war and Hiram specifically.

My next step was to add some information about my Great-Grandfather. Though he was gone long before I was ever born, I have a bit of insight into his life. In the 50’s, he self-published a book of his poetry and my grandfather recently gifted me a copy. I’ve probably read it a hundred times since, and I get something new out of it each time. I decided to share his poem titled “Soliloquy of Peace”, which is one of my favorites. I told my Grandfather that I would use one of these poems for a blog post at some point, I just didn’t realize this is quite how it would come about.

Though I didn’t put them in any specific order, I then added information that gave insights into one person from each branch of the family tree on the Brisbin side. For my Grandfather, I added some information on the police station where he was chief until his retirement. I then used Google translate to transfer it into German, for my father who is a German linguist. Lastly, I added a silly (though structural sounding) poem that I wrote in ninth grade called “The Cold Metal Bench” to round it out. I also added several links to my family tree study, including a horribly infectious pop song, and a video on comma usage, (you have to actually click on a comma in order to get to it) as well as a few other text additions.

This project didn’t turn out quite like I had imagined, mostly due to a few WordPress limitations, though I like it the way it is. I have added a picture of the work I had started before I realized that cutting and pasting from word was maybe not the best way to do it. I won’t give away much else, because I want people to be able to form their own interpretations of the work. My main goal is what Johnny says at the end, “That ought to confuse someone” – hopefully I have accomplished that.

For more interesting House of Leaves projects please visit:

Lans
Carrie
Caitlin
Vone
Tim
Rachel

HOL

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7 thoughts on “HOL Addendum Explanation

  1. Wow! I love that you included the historical references of your family tree. Your great-grandfathers poem was beautiful! Also, I can understand the struggles with wordpress I really struggled with that for our final project last quarter. It would be nice if it was a little more versatile with structuring.

    • I did a lot of research into how to format things using wordpress, and there are not nearly as many options as I would have liked. I think that part of the problem is that we have free sites, and don’t pay extra for the CSS, though I could be wrong.

  2. Astounding, Meg! I love the project, and the fiction that you created, but now I’m super curious about your ancestors. It sounds like you have a rich history, but more importantly, that you’re also still so strongly connected to it. I think you nailed the “confuse the reader” element, but you did it artfully, with a great personal cohesion running through it all. Is the book of poetry your great grandfather wrote available to read anywhere?

    • I am definitely a bit more attached to my family history now that I am a little older and have kids than I might have been. My great-grandfather self-published his poems in the fifties at the request of friends and family, so there are only a few copies floating around. There is an entry for it on Amazon, though they don’t have any copies. My guess is that theoretically my grandfather has the rights to the poems since he is the oldest living descendent…I will think about that a little more.

  3. I love this explanation of your work! Your poem is so cute, and quite the juxtaposition against your great-grandfather’s. So cool that you’re kinda collaborating with him on this post.

    • That was my favorite part of the whole thing! My Dad was only six when his grandfather died, so of course I never met him, but his poems make me feel like I know him a little.

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HOL Addendum Explanation

I have been working on organizing my house these last few week and going through boxes in the garage. As I was cleaning, I happened to come across a collected poetry book from my ninth grade English class, and I also found a picture of my Great-Great Grandfather Hiram Brisbin in his Civil War uniform. I don’t know why, but these items (plus a collection of poetry that my Great-Grandfather had published) really spoke to me and led me in my decisions with regard to this project. I guess they seemed important because House of Leaves was so dependent on the stories that sprang from each of the individual family relationships. I thought it might be fun to play with some of my own family history and see what happened.

Since my Great-Great Grandfather was in the Civil War, I decided that I would spend some time looking up his war records. It is amazing to me that I can go to an online database and find information that is as specific as the date he entered and left the army (148 years later, no less). I decided to use some of the information about where his regiment was stationed throughout the war in my piece, and I linked to the full text as well. I also linked to a few other pieces of pertinent information regarding the war and Hiram specifically.

My next step was to add some information about my Great-Grandfather. Though he was gone long before I was ever born, I have a bit of insight into his life. In the 50’s, he self-published a book of his poetry and my grandfather recently gifted me a copy. I’ve probably read it a hundred times since, and I get something new out of it each time. I decided to share his poem titled “Soliloquy of Peace”, which is one of my favorites. I told my Grandfather that I would use one of these poems for a blog post at some point, I just didn’t realize this is quite how it would come about.

Though I didn’t put them in any specific order, I then added information that gave insights into one person from each branch of the family tree on the Brisbin side. For my Grandfather, I added some information on the police station where he was chief until his retirement. I then used Google translate to transfer it into German, for my father who is a German linguist. Lastly, I added a silly (though structural sounding) poem that I wrote in ninth grade called “The Cold Metal Bench” to round it out. I also added several links to my family tree study, including a horribly infectious pop song, and a video on comma usage, (you have to actually click on a comma in order to get to it) as well as a few other text additions.

This project didn’t turn out quite like I had imagined, mostly due to a few WordPress limitations, though I like it the way it is. I have added a picture of the work I had started before I realized that cutting and pasting from word was maybe not the best way to do it. I won’t give away much else, because I want people to be able to form their own interpretations of the work. My main goal is what Johnny says at the end, “That ought to confuse someone” – hopefully I have accomplished that.

For more interesting House of Leaves projects please visit:

Lans
Carrie
Caitlin
Vone
Tim
Rachel

HOL

7 thoughts on “HOL Addendum Explanation

  1. Wow! I love that you included the historical references of your family tree. Your great-grandfathers poem was beautiful! Also, I can understand the struggles with wordpress I really struggled with that for our final project last quarter. It would be nice if it was a little more versatile with structuring.

    • I did a lot of research into how to format things using wordpress, and there are not nearly as many options as I would have liked. I think that part of the problem is that we have free sites, and don’t pay extra for the CSS, though I could be wrong.

  2. Astounding, Meg! I love the project, and the fiction that you created, but now I’m super curious about your ancestors. It sounds like you have a rich history, but more importantly, that you’re also still so strongly connected to it. I think you nailed the “confuse the reader” element, but you did it artfully, with a great personal cohesion running through it all. Is the book of poetry your great grandfather wrote available to read anywhere?

    • I am definitely a bit more attached to my family history now that I am a little older and have kids than I might have been. My great-grandfather self-published his poems in the fifties at the request of friends and family, so there are only a few copies floating around. There is an entry for it on Amazon, though they don’t have any copies. My guess is that theoretically my grandfather has the rights to the poems since he is the oldest living descendent…I will think about that a little more.

  3. I love this explanation of your work! Your poem is so cute, and quite the juxtaposition against your great-grandfather’s. So cool that you’re kinda collaborating with him on this post.

    • That was my favorite part of the whole thing! My Dad was only six when his grandfather died, so of course I never met him, but his poems make me feel like I know him a little.

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