We are not computers linked in networks, so we simply cannot absorb all the information into our brain by reading a book or an article on a topic that interests us. Reading is, thus, a rather creative kind of activity. Because of that, even classics such as Shakespeare or Dostoevsky, may have very different interpretations. Literary critics call these interpretations “readings.” The creative nature of reading does not imply that the reading process is random, depending on the reader’s mood or knowledge, or capacity of perception, but it means that the writer can induce the readers into certain interpretations, can allude to certain meanings in his writings. The writer has to mind the narrative structure of his book, and give the reader certain clues in order for it to creatively and properly read it.
Since the reader cannot comprise a whole essay or something like that in his/her mind, it is necessary for the writing to be divided in certain fragments. So the paragraphs should not be too long, and also should give a clear idea of what the writer is trying to say.
In order to allow the creative reading of one’s work, the writer should produce his work in such a way that the reader can make assumptions and inferences regarding the nature of the things the author wants to describe/explain/comment etc.
The fact that creative readers make creative writers, is logical and commonly-shared by everyone. So those who want to produce good-quality writings must be able to read well. That doesn’t mean one has to read really fast, or to be able to understand writings, but one has to be able to have a creative perspective on his/her reading.
An enormous number of people regard reading as a means of entertaining. But for people who fall into this category, there is very little to gain. Although it might seem as a useful activity, a perfect pastime to choose, reading on the train or on the bus can fool us into believing we are actually reading. Our mind is very likely to wander in this particular situation, so we don’t really get into the writer’s world, or we cannot really retain too many important details.
Most of people like reading fiction. That is because well-written fiction books can let us enter a new and exciting world, that has charming, interesting characters, which we may feel related to. So when we put the book aside, after finishing it, we feel a sort of sadness. The idea is to read so as to remember later what the book was about, to read first and foremost to our very own benefit, and not just to impress others or to follow someone’s recommendation.
Here are the wise words that John F. Genung wrote in his “Practical Elements of Rhetoric”, back in 1894: “While the reader is receptive, while he is being acted upon by what he is reading, he is at the same time origination, vigorously acting on the same subject-matter, shaping it into a new product, according to the color and capacity of his own mind.”
What does this “creative reading” refer to? Or what does it do to us, readers? How does it work? At any rate, it is meant to inspire us, to stir our imaginative thoughts, and generate alertness in our minds. Otherwise, we may fall asleep while reading, or forget everything after we’ve read the text. Also, creative reading should help us focus on grammar and style, and how do they help the writer render his message to the readers.
We must discipline our reading. We have to learn and stay focused and alert. Yes, we can choose the things we want to read, though, and read at our very own pace, without any pressure from the outside.
by Claudia Miclaus.