Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Why do I read

Julia asks a good question and has one answer. Some questions have answers.

Do I read to find out who I am? No - I don't think so. At least not consciously. At first I read because I was taught to read. It was fun to see the colour. Then I read because I was good at it and could read a story in the hour between awakening and rising. Then I read too fast because I was told speed reading was good for you. Wrong. Then I met the metaphysical poets and my screeching tires paused for a moment. Then I read to search for a solution to insoluble problems. Then in the anointed Jesus, I found a solution.

Then I read fast to make up for lost time and I read so much drivel wrongly and so much that is good with next to zero understanding, trying to stuff everything into a word like 'justification'. I read to define and to bolster the truth I had discovered. Wrong again.

Funny - I read comics as a child so now I can read Kavalier and Clay and enjoy a great story (even though it would be possible to draw false conclusions from it). That's a book I read quickly to find out what 'happened'.  I have a much greater appreciation for comics and my own history after this lighthearted prize winning fare.

Now I read to hear the voice of past authors or to rejoice in the authority of the one whose banner is over me and who has left for me his mark on the texts I now read very slowly. I no longer read for fear that I am left out or so totally screwed up that there is no escape. Perhaps I am reading to know who I am - but also to know that I have things in common with those whose voice I hear in the text whether author, redactor, or interpreter.

It's a good meme - why do you read?

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