A little while back i wrote the first salvo …
Here are a couple of ‘Rules of Engagement’:
1. Never read More than is Written! – don’t add your own ‘stuff” to what you read while you read it and in so doing alter the message erroneously. Make sure you read exactly what a thing says without spelling or punctuation or grammatical mistkes or typo’s that mislead from the real meaning in the message. Remember that to err is Human and this includes authors, typesetters, translators and yes You the reader. ( not forgetting the ‘proof’-reader of course ) 🙂
I once found THREE factual errors (not entirely due to typos) just on page 1 of the Guinness Book of World Records 50th Anniversary edition and tried to contact them to ask for the proof-reading job – I assumed they would have had one – for a book of supposed FACTS and all?
Words can and frequently do have more than a single meaning and sometimes are meant to be able to be read in more than one ‘sense’ – but focus and get ONE message at a time before going back over things to reveal other hidden meanings – otherwise it is easy to become confused in your own mind. We don’t incorporate multiple meanings all that well internally. Not all at once anyways.
Not without lots and lots of practice.
2. Learn when and HOW to read between the lines. Apparent contradiction to Rule Number 1 or so it would at first glance seem? When reading what someone else wrote it is firstly important to read what they actually ‘said’. Then the way they said it – was it said seriously or tongue in cheek? Or in Jest, lighthearted or was there deeper intent behind the words.
It is then necessary to try to understand what they actually Meant! Reading ‘between’ the lines to get the actual intent/purpose of the writing/author.
This also takes lots of practice and you can never really be sure, without spending time in the Authors head for a while, just what was really behind the intent. Let it speak to you as your current understanding allows, but don’t ‘add’ what was not intended to be added, or miss what was meant to be passed on.
It can be so hard for humans to communicate their own thoughts to others the way they think them – We as readers are just not built to be able to fully accept the thought of another person – ‘specially not by reading words or listening to them sometimes either.
We attach different ‘influences’ on words and we all do that differently. Kind of stuffs the whole thought transfer around.
Still – What other choice have we got??? If we have something to say instead of listening to what someOne is telling us?