- Writers as Readers
As a new member of Fourth Genre’s editorial staff, I approached the selection of a piece for this issue’s Writer as Reader series in much the same way as I’ve approached my own work as both a writer and a reader: at a somewhat sideways angle. The guidelines for this series have asked submissions to focus tightly on the frame of a single essay or work, rather than a writer’s body of work. And it is not my intention to wrench this guide from out of the works to drop in my own mesh of levers and gears. But when I was asked to consider taking on this position, and having read the guidelines and many of the splendid pieces published under its banner, I also found a nagging itch of slight impertinence beginning to rustle somewhere between my eyes and hands. Focus on a single piece of writing and not a writer. Reasonable. Certain economy there. But what of the writer as reader? As if there were some discernable point of demarcation served best by specific focus on the solitary work of another. As if our work didn’t already call for us to be as teachers, as parents, as intersection, or even, as collision. And that’s when Cecile Goding’s essay “Needles and Devils: Reading Memories” crossed my path.
Without abandoning the crafted and considered type of essay that has represented this publication so well, I also want to open this series to the slight angle where we give similar substance to narratives of ourselves as readers. We are writers out in the world. We are readers out in the world. These are narratives that could be made to fit the mode already at work [End Page 155] here. But I want to humbly suggest the worth of our narratives as readers, engaged in a world where both reading and writing braid, snarl, tussle, undo, and, when done well, give voice to implication. I love the archaic definition of implication: to entangle, to enmesh, to turn back inward on itself. How else does a writer read? [End Page 156]