definer defined

certain books define an era, a genre, a time, a place. others do not. there are those books that define, and those that are defined. this leaves two kinds of readers: those that are defined by the texts that they read, and those that define the texts–the passive and the active.

it is the text-that-must-be-defined that is the more difficult to write, the more rewarding to read and it is these books also that, paradoxically, hold their place in history through their timelessness. they are rooted by their transience.

reading is more important than writing.

however, this is more than mere authorial etiquette (excuse me while i die, won’t you?). it is a concerned removal that must take place for the piece to be classed as great writing, but it can also only occur within a great piece of writing, for this removal occurs under the glare of human relationships.

this false altruism in which we allow another to discover something about themselves, through us (but of course, for us), happens constantly and consistently through life. on many occasions we emit a sense of who we are, without explanation or description–an autograph upon a period in one’s life. this practice is a continual shifting game of catch-up, of establishment, consolidation and rejection until we reach the point of self-knowledge, an area of contentment and settlement.

those that have influenced but not progressed, fade away. they have been defined, and they are transient and passive. those that have remained throughout the change, remain not simply as a bystander but as part of another’s life. they are definers, and are permanent and active.

we must know when to admire and when to argue, when to embellish and when to accept. the reward is to be one of those permanent and active readers, to become lodged within the paragraphs of the text with as much right and purpose as the words themselves. in that way the text is defined and we are definers. the author may then rejoin his text.

the emphasis is on transition, it’s necessity and its mechanisms. the process of reading a great work (that is defined by the reader) is a representation of the forging of human relationships. the process of reading a work that seeks to define (thus denying the reader’s role, and the entire process itself) is a representation of the forcing of human relationships.

the answer, my friends, is within the pages of those novels that wake you in the middle of the night with their incessant talking.


2 Responses to “definer defined”

  1. text heavy, man!

  2. My only contention is that reading ranks more than writing. In some respects, maybe, because the writer is only one, and the readers are many. But it is the innate power of the author to move minds that reading becomes subservient to the writing. However, as the title of the post implies, readers must define the definer in potential and actualized consonance for the writing to have an acquired power of a thousand voices chanting only one word.

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