Friday, September 25, 2009


Just an observation about reading. Way back when I was doing my masters I rejoiced in having a super high reading speed. It is still true that if I need to I can plow through books and articles at break neck speed. It is also true that doing this is actually helpful, provided I have some immediate means of massaging the data into meaning - such as a quick read before a class discussion. If I waited too long it was less useful to do this. Just as the masters was reteaching me to write, I think the doctoral work is reteaching me how to read. Reading with comprehension is hard. Reading with attention to detail is hard. Reading is not as simple a process as I would like.

Reading with comprehension, for me, requires lots of processing space. I need to step back from the text a lot, talk it through in my head (or better with people), which just adds to the time it takes to finish the reading. This does not mean I don't strategically read certain texts - it is a good skill to be able to dissect a book into which parts are most important to your purposes, read those thoroughly and skim the rest so that you don't miss something potentially important. But, at least in terms of the comps, my texts are carefully chosen to not have a lot of fat that needs trimming. So I read.

I think part of the problem is that I am quite ADHD, so it is easy for me to start in on a page and halfway through, "is that a cow over there?" Yup, I'm gone. This used to get quite frustrating for me, but really there is not much I can do about it. And the reality is that I do manage to stay on task quite effectively - I've had years to learn how to deal with my attention issues. That explains why I like working in crisis so much, give me an impending deadline and I'm all fired up. If the deadline is only sort of pending - well there is always facebook! Oh look there is a whole season of Trailer Park Boys' I've never seen before! You know the story. The problem with that is it is usually my family that suffers. So I've tried my best to not fall into those old patterns. In fact I've tried to spend time with my family as a way of making the deadlines loom larger for me. This tactic sometimes backfires when I end up pulling a late night and spending the next day with the grumpies.

Well, I've procrastinated long enough this morning, got to get back to reading.

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