What the reader brings to a text

Long ago in a distant galaxy, far, far away, I taught writing.

In the spring of 1996, I found myself hired to teach an introductory composition course in a spare room on the second floor of the campus library with a wall of windows that had a scenic view — and I had to compete with the view from those windows for my students’ attention.

To that end, I read all kinds of things, hoping to find interesting tidbits to incorporate into my lectures to occasionally distract my students from the view from the window.

It was during that time that I came across an article in a magazine in which the author discussed the relationship between the writer and the reader.

There are two things in particular that have stuck with me from that article.

One, the act of reading is an incredibly intimate act in which the writer’s thoughts enter the reader’s brain.

Two, the baggage the reader brings to the text being read colors the reader’s understanding of the text in ways that cannot always be identified.

I experienced this latter truth first-hand on Friday after I had taken my mother to a doctor’s appointment.

I was on my way home and found myself behind this trailer for a local landscaping business:

landscaping trailer
The Yard-Nique trailer

and as has happened every time I have encountered this trailer, my crochet-centric brain misread the text as “Yarn-Nique”, and I had to do a careful re-reading in order to still my heart which was racing at the prospect of a trailer full of yarn.

With my mom’s doctor’s appointment in the past and with just a short drive home between me and an early start on a crochet weekend, I headed home and got to work, and while I did crochet a number of cookies (of which I wove in exactly none of the ends), the bulk of my attention was focused on Dotghan 1.0.

Here is how far I got with it Friday:

crochet blanket with crochet dots
I finish a second row of dots for the dotghan

here is what got added to it Saturday:

crochet blanket with crochet dots
and a third

and here it is as of early this afternoon today:

crochet blanket with crochet dots
and a fourth

Since this last photo was taken, I have completed an additional 10 rows of crochet and am ready to appliqué the next row of dots, and then, before I know it, this particular crochet adventure will be over, but I will have my hook in hand and be ready to follow wherever the yarn leads me.

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4 thoughts on “What the reader brings to a text

  1. That game is so ADDICTING!!!! LOL Nobody will ever rest under that afghan, they’ll be itching to play the game!

  2. I did that the other day too. Like my brain is so focused on the addiction of yarn and crochet that other things take a back seat!!!!

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