professornana (professornana) wrote,


BH and I are enjoying the sermons at the new church we are attending. BH knows when I whip out the phone to make some notes, that the homily has given me ideas for the blog. I love it when something resonates with me not just in terms of the service, but in terms of the other parts of my life. This past week, the priest talked about WYSIWYG. Few in attendance knew this stands for WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET. He made an interesting comparison to how different gospel writers view the same events in Christ's life through different lenses. And, of course, I thought about books and reading.

No two readers read the same book, IMHO. I know that after years of serving on committees, participating in discussions with others about books, even rereading a book after some time has passed. Just as we never set foot in the same river twice, I think we do not step into the same book twice. So how does WYSIWYG play into this here? Don't we all see the same words when we read? I think not. Okay, yes, we do see the same words, but do they have the same pace, inflection, and perhaps even meaning. As Rosenblatt observed all those years ago, those words are squiggles on a page until we bring ourselves and our experiences to bear. So, if no two readers are alike, can the same book be read in the same way by two different people?

My book friends and I talk about books endlessly. We do not always agree even though we read the same books, those same words. While we share love for the same books often, we also can disagree about books. I might love a book and someone else will ask what I saw that he or she did not. So, it is not a case of WYSIWYG. I think it might be more a case of WYADWYG: WHO YOU ARE DETERMINES WHAT YOU GET. This idea is something I am still rolling around in my fevered (it is still more than 100 degrees outside and it is 80 degrees in the hotel room) brain. As I crack open another new book before I head to bed, I know that this experience will be fresh, the words will sing or fall flat, characters will stride forward and present themselves to me. I look forward to seeing how these words appear to me and later talk to someone else who has read those same words so we can compare our responses.
Tags: wysiwyg

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