12/3/09 05:08 - 28
Novels and nonfiction are relatively alike. First my eyes see every word as a word, and my mind plays the word in my head, using that internal audio-like process we humans somehow developed (there is a correct term for this cognitive ability, but it has escaped me). It is a fast process, but my brain is thinking of the words, before the meanings, imagining the shape of the letters in, interestingly enough, a particular font. The font used on blogspot, which my momentary google search tells me is "Georgia" (here I would offer a sample, but apparently livejournal works nothing like how I remember it for fonts). It is weird that my brain tries to picture the letters even though they are clearly in front of me.
Eventually, my brain stops internally playing back the words as I read them, and I am no longer reading the words, but reading their meanings and conjuring up relevant images. Occassionally there is the bare whisper of a narrative voice in my mind. Did I mention that the whole internal noise thing confuses me? I childishly suspect that my ears are actually hearing the internal noise, then I start thinking in circles about how the noise is not really a noise at all, but more like the sound of someone mouthing words, utterly imagined, like (to string two similies together) when the tv is muted but you look at the tv and are still able to hear what technically isn't there.
Occassionally, my mind will dart off to somewhere relevant to a particular word. Quite often, if my mind has been playing some event over and over, trying to figure it out, my mind will dart back to that topic with the tiniest of motivations. Unsurprising, really.
Another thing is that, if my self-conscious mind is being awkward, it'll be difficult to make the transition from the first stage of reading to the second, and once I finally get to the second, I will become self aware of the fact I am reading, and abruptly lose my reading groove, and the process will have to start again, but slower, because my mind will be very, very aware of every single word I see.
Plays on the otherhand, I feel quite distant from when I read. The format is vaguely distracting, and usually I am reading the words (in something close to the first stage) and thinking about them logically. It often means that simple things like plot and names are lost quickly
in my memory (for instance, I cannot remeber much about The Tempest at all), but often is one or the other than is lost (I could easily tell you what happens in King Lear, but I could not name his daughters. Though I can faintly remember the shape of the words and the more I focus on decoding individual letters, the closer I come to remembering the names- for instance, I just remembered Cordelia is one, R is another, G another too, perhaps). I could probably offer up a few quotes from most of them, though.
Oh, and on a more ocd theme: really wishing I hadn't noticed what I did about twitter. I can feel my mind desperately trying to convince me to list future potential formulae, and also a potential despair when the numbers eventually change. On the other hand, I like maths, so shush.