Types of Reading / Writing

I was talking to my wife the other night, and we were talking about how hard it was to find time to read.

“Yeah, I never do as much reading as I wish I did,” I said, motioning to my bookshelf. I was reading Google News at the time. “You know, I’ve only read about two-thirds of those books.”

“Oh, I know. All day, I’m grading student work, and I just don’t feel like I have time to read anymore,” my wife said as she sorted through a stack of coupons on her lap.

See … this is it. We read all the time. We read (news, funny articles, online comic strips, homework, online fiction, etc.) and write (texts, blogs, emails, homework, etc.) all of the time, yet we do not count those things. It’s a strange thing, but these forms seem invalid. I’m not sure why this is. I mean, I’m not suggesting it is the same as writing a novel or reading Theodore Dreiser’s An American Tragedy (which one should never do, unless one enjoys awful books), but it is reading and writing. It isn’t as though I’m spending all day staring at a TV or playing video games.

Perhaps there is something to these forms. Maybe it’s the immediacy that makes them invalid. There’s something cheap about them. I mean, when I write a story, I’m still writing to an audience … but it seems distant, maybe dignified. I don’t know. Maybe I’m fooling myself.

My writing resolution for 2012 has thus far been rather unsuccessful, so I am starting fresh with a February resolution. Hopefully, this will work out better.

About Adam Nannini

The greatest writer of his generation ... which isn't saying much.
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2 Responses to Types of Reading / Writing

  1. Nice post; it’s something that has never really occurred to me before. I think the difference is the purpose. For example, writing as in fiction is seen as an art because it deals with emotions and philosophy (or, in a lot of cases, really big explosions), whereas the writing on a website or a coupon is more technical, so we tend to disregard it. We read newspapers to be informed, which is why we don’t really consider that reading either – there is an actual, solid purpose to that. But we read novels to be entertained, or moved, or to make us think. I guess if we started considering every single word we read as ‘reading’ in the hobby sense, we might as well say your a soldier if you play Call of Duty a lot.

  2. Chelsea says:

    somebody should research coupons as text. for as interested as i am in the various forms of composition/text/documents and what they tell us, sometimes i have to laugh at how we can make EVERYTHING a text. COUPONS AS TEXT!

    oh, also, i talked to becky sipe today about writing to inform vs writing for aesthetics and she was saying that she thought the latter was disappearing because of the written communication standards put in place by educational institutions – and these students who have been fully educated in the standards way are now entering college, and they don’t know how to write for aesthetics/rhetorical effect, as much as it is performing a standard. hmm.

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