Friday, September 7, 2007

The Bridge

"You have the writer on one side, the reader on the other, and in between is a bridge."

Last night in class we were talking, as we will all semester, about the connection between reading and writing. Of course, any good composition instructor or creative writer knows that on of the best ways to study writing is to read. A lot.

In the group we're constantly suggesting to people that they read such & such an author, or such & such a book. It'll make their writing stronger, we say. All this time, I've had a difficult time articulating exactly why this is beyond saying that what we read can act as an example.

Finally, last night, one of the guys in my class said it in a way that clicked for me. The more we read, the better our writing tends to become. This is because reading is another way of studying that bridge that goes from one end of the discourse to the other. So, it's not so important all the time which end you're working from, as long as you're learning more about the bridge itself. That's the key.


Whittaker Luckless said...

It's part of the key. I know very specifically of people who read...I don't want to say proficiently. More massively. A lot of reading. And good literature too. But they aren't very good writers, these readers of which I speak.

So reading with an actual awareness toward understanding the written work--why some words work, why scenes or pieces are in one place instead of another place. Reading with a consciousness.

I ask people sometime if they like such and such a book. They say "yes" or "no." I ask, what was or wasn't good about it. They say, "Was just good" or "was just bad."

Not everyone knows about the bridge. Books are called--in propaganda style marketting campaigns--windows into other worlds. That's the reader's perspective.

Ali said...

You're right. I should've been more specific when I was talking about the bridge.

Not only do you have to be walking it, you also have to be paying attention to how it's built.

Whittaker Luckless said...

Mine are all suspension bridges.

Ali said...

Why am I not surprised?

Whittaker Luckless said...

I don't know. I would have been.

-John said...

But, the trip across a bridge one way, is unlike the trip across the other way. Really, as you read, you should read backwards, so that when you get to the writing side, you can move forward back towards reading.