The ability to read…

…is it lost?

If you read my blog post on my writer’s site this past week, two weeks, you know I was sharing our loss of handwriting. An opinion prompted by a LeVar Burton interview on TV, one that also touched on our possible attention to reading longer pieces than a tweet, message, post to social media…a typed word-bite along the lines of a sound-bite (my wording).

Do we have the patience to read?

I’m coming back to this writing after stepping away and now wonder if I really need to say more. I had thought to write about long prose of description being replaced by fast clips of dialogue and snips of setting that expects the reader to fill in the rest, but I think I wrote something along those lines previously.

Has our love of social media trained us away from the beauty of the written word? I’ve asked people why they chose that or this book and their answer has been mostly…the reviews were good; everyone says they like it; everyone’s talking about it. Okay. What did the reviews say was good? Why does everyone like it? Is the talk about it good or bad? The next answer I’ve received has been…I don’t know they didn’t say.

It’s like what’s happened to movies. Ninety minutes is the accepted norm and anything more than that and you start to hear complaints about not being able to sit that long. We fast forward through commercials every second we’re able to instead of, what? Talking to the person in the room with us about what we just watched? Giving ourselves a small break from the boob-tube, which is dating myself for that term.

Then there’s silence. We can’t have silence anymore. Book characters have to be doing something. Moving somewhere. Reacting somehow. Need to jump to a new scene or chapter and move the story that way, instead of looking inwards on the character or showing the from here to there scenery. Can’t have a silent scene on the television, can’t allow the audience to see what’s happening for themselves.

Have we lost the patience to read? Have we lost the patience to discover, anything, for ourselves?

I hope not. While I actually like instant mashed potatoes, the process of peeling, boiling, mashing potatoes, and adding the milk and butter still feels better. Fast food fries are good, but I’ve never made a chip sandwich with them, that’s saved for the homemade fries.

Maybe it boils down to time. Instead of making the time, I think I’m going to take the time. Kidnap the time. Steal the time. Hoard the time. All in the name of growing more patience.

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