Reading as a creative act

March 23, 2017

In the introduction to the wonderfully insightful book Genership 1.0, David Castro writes, “The journey of self-discovery involves the possibility of transcendence. The effort to see ourselves changes us. Thomas Mann reminded us that ‘[n]o one remains quite what he was when he recognizes himself.’ We are the sculptor; we are the stone. The strangely transformational search for true human nature belongs not only to myth-makers, poets and philosophers. We experience the quest for our identity as social beings. Through families, organizations, communities and nations, humanity writ large shares the pilgrimage toward the self. Religion, philosophy, art, science and history undertake the same fundamental inquiry: Who are we?”

I love this image of all of humanity in the quest together, asking the same foundational questions, reflecting ourselves in each other. For me, this calls to mind the act of reading: a form of connection, inspiration, newness, delight. I believe that reading itself is an act of creation. The reader brings the writers’ words to life uniquely and individually. No two readers experience a book in exactly the same way. Readers create the experience of the book based on their frame of reference, mood, memories, and associations. Words on a page are not static — they are a conversation between writer and reader.

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