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October 1st, 2010

How I read nonfiction now

I've owned "Unkle Setnakt's Essential Guide to the Left Hand Path" for years and years, since I lived in Iowa. I think even since I lived in Creston. I wanted so much to read it. I've made several attempts over the years to read it, and never had much luck. It's a great book, full of good advice, but I just couldn't read it straight through... which is the only way to read it and have it fit together right. I never knew why I could never get past the first few pages on it... until now.

In hindsight, I now know that certain kinds of non-fiction are difficult for me to read. Give me fiction, and I know how to read it; the words turn into images! Maybe not the clearest images, but images all the same. But certain kinds of non-fiction I'll read a sentence or two and have to re-read it several more times to make any sense of it. It's like the words don't want to translate for me. I'm perfectly capable of understanding words without having images in my head to go with them, but for some reason it wasn't doing that for me. Which explains all the books about magick and spirituality I have that I haven't been able to read. Conversations With God was pretty simple, as those books are usually in the format of a conversation between Neil and God, but certain other kinds of non-fiction... I'm not even sure what constitutes the type I have difficulty with, really. I never had any problem reading textbooks at school. I didn't like to, and preferred to get the information from the teacher's mouth when I could, but I could read the textbooks.

Anyway, I stumbled onto a solution yesterday. I don't know how or why I started doing this, but I was so determined to read Uncle Setnakt's book that I started imagining he was giving a lecture, and I was attending the lecture, and the words in the book were his words. I still have to re-read sentences on occasion, but only once as opposed to 2 or 3 times. Something about having the kinds of word emphasis and body language (including gestures) in my mind makes the words easier to translate. I've already made more progress on that book than ever before, just in reading while waiting for the bus yesterday! (Though admittedly yesterday I had an hour to wait.) I'm going to have to try this method on other things I have trouble reading, see if it helps. Including long LiveJournal entries... I have difficulty with those. But imagining my friends speaking these entries aloud to me might help. :-)

I'm not sure why I have the problem, or why the solution works so well, though part of it may be that if I'm not getting any meaning from something, my mind starts to disengage. Anyway, this is cool to me. :-)

Crossposted from http://fayanora.dreamwidth.org

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