Reading to Fill in the Gaps

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Language stands in for the actual substance in absence. How can you prove something exists without it literally being there? How do you describe the color red, or the taste of salt? You present it with a connection: it is the taste of sea water splashing to your face, the glow of sweat after a glorious game, and tears after having your heart break before you. Not being able to have the substance there can limit communication, but moreover it increases the opportunity for literature and language to “play”. Daniel Coleman explores this concept in his book, In Bed with the Word: Reading, Spirituality, and Cultural Politics, with an example of a musical performance. Though there is no life in the actual notes on a page, the pianist can eloquently give them life with each touch of her finger; they burst through the room and can dance with exquisite excitement (Coleman, 84). The text from an author can be given an equal opportunity for a performance as the reader chooses to fill in the gaps where communication is limited. The absence then becomes an even greater presence where the spirit can engage in something grander than itself. Therefore, the reason we read is to fill in the absence and to create a greater connection with the world. The absence of words is fulfilled by the imagination and knowledge that is required with reading. We are given the opportunity to be isolated with only ourselves and the text that we hold. As each word is read, our imagination gains the role of a creator and we develop something that wasn’t there before opening the text and thereby give ourselves an opportunity to open our minds as well. This spiritual experience is what Coleman often describes in his text. He illuminates the writing as a medium throu... ... middle of paper ... ...olation… while also reminding us that we are connected to a world beyond our own skins…” (Coleman, ). Reading then holds a profound purpose in our everyday lives of communication and connection to life beyond our individual being. As we connect through the basics of reading, we become a verse in the grand poem of life, contributing our perspective of an imagination into a grander culture of reading. Our souls are compelled to add presence to each word in the text and to crawl in and fill the gaps that were left in between each line. Our role as the reader is to give life and meaning to what we read. Through our actions as a reader, the text then fulfills its purpose by giving substance and structure to the absence of life. Works Cited Coleman, Daniel. In Bed with the Word: Reading, Spirituality, and Cultural Politics. Edmonton: University of Alberta, 2009. Print.

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