Essay

What s Reading?

What is reading? It is not superficially skimming the pages, no; it is not this anymore than a best-seller is literary, irrespective of what it is that makes a best-seller sell best. What am I trying to say? I will just say what is in my mind–I have known too many people who were too reticent to write because they feared their own minds, what was in there,perhaps, what could be lurking there, a premonition of selves hiding from the Self, hiding from other selves, wearing disguises inside; to write is to betray oneself, a friend had said. To translate, is to betray, another had said, reminded me that Italian as a homophonic pun on to translate and to betray. Maybe those who fear writing, becoming naked on the page, I used to like to say, is because they do not read, or cannot read, that is, they do not do what it is they are supposed to be doing while they are reading, and that is not simply to skim the pages that pass before their eyes like so many trees in a changing landscape out the window of the bus they are riding to  Boston to visit friends–there are really no landscapes to speak of outside windows passing whatever scene passes them on the Interstate Highways of America’s Interstate Highway System—did you know that you can get on one and travel through all 48 contiguous states without departing the system, begin in Maine and you can travel through every state of the forty-eight. We were in Portsmouth New Hampshire for several days last year and did not once walk on any bridge crossing  the Piscataqua River into Maine–interesting that we did not do that.

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