WRITING: As One Reads

Katey at One Good Bumblebee says, “And if I write out Lisa Jarnot’s complete Sea Lyrics longhand because mere reading isn’t good enough dammit, it’s ok. And if I can’t read a book without holding a pen in one hand because I have to put some action into the “act” of reading, it’s ok…”

I well understand both statements. I have mentioned here before that the physical act of writing with a pen or preferably a pencil on paper is pleasurable to me. Actually, that was one of the things I loved most about Algebra, filling copybooks with numbers, letters, lines and squiggles neatly arranged in some comprehensive form—though the meaning and answers meant almost nothing to me so much as the appearance of the formulas themselves. It is perhaps as much for the joy of making marks on small sheets of paper as for the reminders and guidance that I make grocery or to-do lists.

Katey’s second reference to reading with a pen to “put some action into the ‘act’ of reading” is something I had started doing just in the past couple of years after courses in literature taught me to seek out certain elements and meanings as I read. Nowadays, it’s often to scribble down a phrase that makes me stop and say, “wow” and that I know I will want to enjoy again or share with someone because it’s too good to end with the turn of the page. As Katey points out, the reader involvement adds to the impact of a reading. This, I would think, is the highest form of appreciation in response to an author’s words

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3 Responses to WRITING: As One Reads

  1. Katey says:

    I’m so excited to have found someone else who doesn’t mind writing in books. Sometimes I’ll get so inspired while reading that I’ll begin drafts of a poem write in the margins and sometimes all over the pages of a book.

  2. Loretta says:

    I still have most of my favorite college books with all the notes in the margins. What fun, what luxury, to spend the day reading Shakespeare and annotating the text. And so much nicer than yellow highlighters!

  3. susan says:

    Uh-oh. I really like you both so much that I shall overlook your tendency to write in books. I myself have a fetish about crisp, clean pages and would never, ever, ever write even so much as my name in a book. Won’t even highlight in a textbook. What I meant was that I keep a separate notebook on the side!

    But I won’t hold it against you, and frankly, I probably am being a little weird about the sanctity of books (yes, even paperbacks). I’ll even admit to worrying about the damage those sticky-notes may be doing to the pages…

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