Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Forrest Roth, On Reading

"During my undergraduate studies, I once remarked to a fellow English student / very good friend how I couldn’t begin to comprehend the nuances of a novel or any other long-ish work until I had read it at least twice. He gave me a reproachful, funny look. And I must give my former self a funny look, too, but without the reproach. I try to be forgiving of my past idiosyncrasies, though I don’t blame the friend now for thinking me a bit daft. Time constraints aside, I can see the big trap of this approach relating to my current predicament, among other reasons.

As I’m in my second year of English Ph.D. studies, I find most of the so-called reading I do—for coursework or a handful of comprehensive exams—is certainly not the same emphatic reading that actively engages me for another go-around (barring the off-hand chance I’ve picked up something sublime, unrelated to academics), yet I’ve acquiesced. It’s a sort of faith I may figure out what those impersonal words ever wanted from poor little me in the first place.

I recall a notion about reading for pleasure which I, and perhaps every reader, unconsciously attribute to that extra-educational plane of Youth when nothing wanted to bother us. Sadly this escape escapes me—even as a creative writer who thrives on loving diversions like other creative writers. I hope to retrieve it someday when Higher Education no longer finds me useful or vice versa. Then, I suppose, it will become the grand nostalgia I will have wanted to avoid all my life for some strange reason I keep kicking around."

Forrest Roth is the author of a novella, Line and Pause (BlazeVox Books), Co-Editor In Chief of Rougarou, and a Ph.D. student at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. Visit him at
:: totemic :: for more information.}

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