The Joy of Text

Favim.com-29936You’ve taken final exams, submitted final essays, and talked to your professor for perhaps the final time.  Throughout the term, you’ve thought about this moment, where you would get home, flop on the couch, and relax in front of your 1080p LG 3D HDTV without a single thought of class, assignments, studying, or…..reading. This works for a while, but soon you find yourself longing for an escape from endless reruns and I.Q-lowering reality television. You’ve sought to escape the reality of textbooks and paying attention, but you never thought that reading, reading for pleasure, could provide the escape you were looking for. After all, aren’t you used to reading to memorize, reading to analyze, and reading to criticize? Well, what about reading to fantasize?

– – – 

Not all books are written to inform or persuade, nor are all pieces written for analysis.

– – –

We in “the biz” typically look down our elongated noses at “escapist fiction,” but that doesn’t mean we don’t indulge. This is one dimension of what we mean when we talk about finding the joy in reading.  Instead of sitting back and letting someone do the visualizing for us (as when we watch the latest summer blockbuster), we create our own worlds of escape in our Mind’s Eye. Yes, this is active, but it is active escape; I’ll daresay it is an act of escape that educators actually support.

– – – 

Don’t worry about studying, don’t worry about analyzing, don’t worry about looking like a nerd (they’re cool anyway)—just get caught up in the present of the present, the moment.

– – –

Escapist FictionWe would rather see you venture into worlds that you help create rather than
passively absorb those created for you and shoved down your throat by the media. I’m not trying to get up on any soapboxes, nor am I writing a cover letter for Reading Rainbow. I’m simply saying that there is a different sort of joy to be derived from reading when you don’t have to do anything with what you’ve read.  Find the joy of text—and write a three page analysis of it to be submitted to me by Tuesday morning.

[Images from Favim.com and Goodreads]

– – –

Thomas Davis, Jr. works as a full time faculty member within the English Department. He teaches classes on writing, literature, and oral communications. Prior to joining Central Penn College, Professor Davis had spent eight years teaching English Language, Literature, and Composition at both the Secondary and Post-Secondary level. He was also supervisor of the English and World Languages departments for an international, distance education high school. His research interests include virtual classroom pedagogy, poststructuralist theory, and technical communications. In his spare time, he enjoys writing poetry, writing and recording music, playing golf, and watching the poetry-in-motion that is baseball.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Reading

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *