On Pacing Reading Experiences

Pacing…this is powerful stuff for many a reader. But it’s valuable and shouldn’t be dismissed. Reading cannot be neatly confined to a tagline summary. Reading is life itself in its many associations. The boundaries between a personal level of learning from reading and its more universal implications are porous and not clearly demarcated with neat lines. It’s perhaps more metaphorical, like fog banks or clouds or over the horizon reactions. Maybe it’s not a picture for you but more of a sound or musical quality as an inner ensemble of senses. Regardless, clearly reading reactions are infinitely various and for one I really appreciate a reader showing me a new way of reading and reacting. I mentioned before about first readings of classics…I was a reluctant reader…a typical guy leaning toward Verne and Poe and the Hardy Boys, etc. But when I finally was forced by a high school English teacher to read a serious “classic”…I broke on through to the other side. I labored through “Crime & Punishment”, actually came down with a feverish headache I so identified with Raskolnikov, and had to lie in bed for an afternoon when finished. After that I never questioned the value of so-called serious literature because I saw that these amazing stories gave me the gift of another person’s life experience. It was like a novel might act as a life lesson or cautionary tale and save me from really terrible mistakes in judgments about life decisions. It also gradually opened up the incredible world of introspection…putting words and feelings to experiences inarticulate in my own mind. Literature really does tap humanity’s deepest gossip about its lasting wells of wisdom.

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