Influences (or Why I Write the Way I Do)

Natalie Goldberg (free-flowing writing)
Clarissa Pinkola Estes (wild woman writing)
Jane Hutchison (direct-to-the-point writing)
Ernest Hemingway (simple words writing)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Journal Articles: A Different Reading

my mistake, which i just realized today after an awful long while, is thinking that i can read journal articles as i read any book of fiction, english or filipino. i would tell myself, in one sitting for instance, that today i will just read this stash of articles on my desk. read them without note-taking. read them while fighting off the urge to interact with the text and write on the sides, highlight key words in green, box the text or line them with my crooked usual style. read them with the air of nonchalance, throwing one article after the next to the floor once i finish. but such interaction with journal articles is a sloppy way of reading for an ordinary mortal  like me.

to read a journal article is to not only absorb but also, and perhaps more importantly, to dissociate one's self from the author, answer the question 'what is this bloke really saying, in terms of her/ his own understanding of the truth as she/he sees it'; then 'do i agree or disagree and why?' then 'how does her/his arguments fit in with my own arguments?' then 'where is the place of my arguments amid her/ his arguments and others' then 'where and what is my voice?'

ergo, reading journal articles takes much more than reading fiction where one can just literally sit, relax and  be borne up by an exhilarating and refreshing piece of writing or be brought down with a thud of disappointment. you may commune with the characters, cry with this one or two, but at the end of it, there is no expected participation at your end, unless of course you're reviewing it.

ergo, i could not just read a journal article and expect to 'get' 'it' in one sitting. thus, as much there is an effort in transcribing, in organizing, analyzing and writing, so should there be separate focused energy on reading the works of authors within the discipline and whose rigor in producing demands the same rigor and patience in the understanding from their readers.

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