The Effective Intertext

In teacher training classes, once we had to make a visual map of “A Day in the Literate Life.” The instructor intended us to examine all the literary tasks we performed each day, the better to understand the types of reading and writing we (and our students in the future) must be able to process. And I realized that I floated from one type of writing to another type of reading back to writing, constantly, throughout every day. My writing life is a natural extension of my reading life.

On days when I feel pretentious and long for grad school, I might say that my inner voice constitutes a rich intertext, that I am the intersection between the many texts of my reading life, and in writing I bring all those input sources together. I honor the writing that has fed me by writing back at it.

Or I might just say that I feel lucky to have read a lot of great books and want to express that gratitude back with some books of my own.

Also, I have always been a hand raiser, one to talk in class–not because I wanted to show off, but because my larynx would burst if I did not get to talk within the next three minutes. And writing allows me to sound that barbaric yawp in quieter, better controlled ways. I write because I talk, because I am grateful, and because I want to participate in the conversations that have shaped my life and mind.


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