Koala bears are not bears – they’re Marsupials

That was an extremely interesting, thought-provoking, and almost radical piece of writing.  A lot of bold claims were made in those ten pages of PDF, though I do not mean bold in necessarily a bad way.  I’ll start from the top and run through what got me thinking…

I was drawn in from the first line, “Most people don’t imagine when they read a text, they’re actually composing it’s meaning.”  This was a pretty daunting way for me to enter a rather academic text (as here I am, somehow composing meaning from a set of scholarly words?).  Somehow I don’t believe this.  Sure you create meaning from a text when you read; however, I’d like to believe that the author has the majority of the power when it comes to “constructing” meaning for a text.  Also, what level of writing does that statement apply to? I can see it working with poems, fiction, personal non-fiction, and some humor. But not to everything.

Another quote that got me was about drafting as it said, “In a sense, the entire article is coiled in the first few words waiting to be released.”  Well, then.  As if starting an essay wasn’t already hard enough…  Planning is described here as goal-setting and knowledge mobilization.  Well that’s easy, right?  I’ll just set a lofty goal, then I’ll mobilize whatever sense of applicable knowledge I have towards my fingertips, and I’ll create a masterpiece.  Somehow I find that hard to believe (especially when this picture made me laugh out loud this morning in lecture).

The last thing that I want to touch on is a flaw of mine.  It was explained that revising is applicable to writing as well as reading.  One should re-read with the same intensity that they would revise a piece of text.  It’s just that I’m never as motivated the second time around.  Though, I’m sure I’d figure something else out (oh, shit- I just realized that if I were to reread with a higher intensity, I just might compose extra meaning).  Or would I just be uncovering the meaning that the author weaved into his words from the start? Touché, Tierney and Person. Touché

Before I end, I want to make clear that I did enjoy this piece.  I just feel that it is not accessible at fist.  Reading and writing are quite personal processes and it’s difficult for someone to blatantly tell you what you do with a personal thing (whether it is true or not).  Cool, stuff though.  I’m looking forward to reading what the rest of you guys thought.

One thought to “Koala bears are not bears – they’re Marsupials”

  1. Andrew, I agree with what you mention about how the whole process of constructing meaning while reading may not apply across all genres. I think that although the process may be very valuable in interpreting some works, it may be problematic if a reader applies the process to, say, a scientific text. At times, while reading Tierney and Pearson’s article, I wish that the authors are more specific with the genres that they think this reading process can be applied to.

    I think that the active reading process that the authors describe is quite obvious in reading poetry. I don’t think that any two people can understand a poem in exactly the same way. Different readers take away different messages depending on their own interpretations that arise from their understanding of the words, tone, etc, of the poem. On the other end, the poet may have intended to project a completely different meaning.

    Speaking of which, this reminds me of a discussion I had with Joey and Julia about Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken. They told me that the poem isn’t really about taking the other less traveled, yet perhaps better (as this poem is often interpreted), route – Frost wrote it about his friend who wished that he had (literally) taken the other road. I couldn’t help but feel kind fooled when I found this out as I’d always thought that this was an inspirational poem. (I just had to look this up and I found this: http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/a_f/frost/road.htm) But this just goes to show the vast differences in each reader’s interpretation!

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