The Medium of Less

If you’re a big reader I can imagine you’d want your kid(s) to be also. I think that really hurt my mom because she wanted me to love reading as much as she did. She would hang out on the couch with a book on dark winter nights and just lose herself. I liked talking with her about those books and stories, even if I didn’t like reading. I remember her telling me all about The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver–that was when Kingsolver was hitting it out of the ball park and was the next great thing on the shelves. Now she’s an old hand.

Anyway, I think, after all the specialists my parents took me too and all the poor results they had with getting me to enjoy reading my mom lost hope. I think I would have. What’s the point of trying to teach someone something when they try everything they can to NOT LEARN IT. The thing was, I was learning to read. I was playing card games and video games that included reading. Still, it wasn’t the TYPE of reading my mom wanted me to like. And maybe that’s the problem.

You might not know, but smartphone novels are now a thing. A smartphone novel is a novel written to be read on a smartphone. Apparently it’s very popular in Japan. See, most avid readers would be rather put off by reading on their phones for 5 minutes, let alone the time it takes to read a novel. But in Japan, apparently, smartphone novels are really big and lots of people read them while on public transportation and such. It makes sense if a writer can get an episodic form down that keeps people reading.

What I’m trying to say is this: just because someone likes a different medium by which something is diseminated doesn’t make it less.

Of course there are people who would disagree with me. Acadamia is a culprit in this type of thinking, oftentimes disparaging forms of literature that the institution doesn’t find deep or metaphorical enough. But the truth is, reading and the written word is metaphorical by nature.

So, it didn’t seem to occur to my mom to let me play more video games because it forced me to read. Instead she thought reading Brother Bear one more time would be the right way to go, which I hated. Of course she lost hope. She didn’t realize I was getting all the reading practice I needed from a medium she saw as “less.”