Reading as Writing: A Nass Article About Reading a Nass Article


When I was little, I wasn’t the kid throwing the football, playing with a dollhouse, or throwing a football at a dollhouse—I was the one with a book. My parents, passionate about reading themselves, taught me to read before most kids had learned to walk and taught me to analyze poetry well before I was potty trained. I wandered from Harry Potter to For Whom the Bell Tolls, from a love affair with Henry James to a youthful dalliance with Dostoyevsky, and I even had a night of passion with Swann’s Way. I read, that’s who I am.

Maybe that’s why I picked up the Nassau Weekly—I love to read and it was what happened to be in front of me. An impulse, an inkling—call it what you will. I read a Nass article.

The article started off with an anecdote about the author’s past, which was meant to illustrate to me what kind of perspective the author was bringing into the article. As someone who’s always been curious about other peoples’ perspectives—my sophomore year roommate and I spent too many hours—and just enough bottles of wine—grappling with the question of whether or not a person can truly say he or she understands someone else—I appreciated getting to know a little bit about the author right off the bat.

Still sticking with the subject of the author’s life, the article (I forget what it was about) got deep pretty quickly. I nearly struggled to follow as it wound its way through cultural references, effortlessly tying in a quote from Niki Minaj (referred to simply as “Minaj,” leaving the uninitiated with little chance of grasping the reference) with a reflection from Oscar Wilde (referred to by his full name to avoid confusion with actress Olivia Wilde). The author was making me question my assumptions left and right, pausing only to mention that she once met Kurt Vile and was underwhelmed.

As I kept reading, the author drifted further and further from the original point, asking important questions which had next to no bearing on anything. Is it a good thing that we sometimes prefer a series of rhetorical questions to an actual statement of our point? If we haven’t fully formed an idea or contributed anything new to a discourse, is it enough to pose one’s thoughts as pseudo-philosophical questions? If you write 2,000 words about your own name, will other people find it interesting?

I don’t know the answer to those questions—maybe it’s not important. In the end, maybe it was enough that they were asked. Maybe.


– SBW ’15.

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