Book Rec. going back to reading styles

Ven ven at
Sun Dec 9 21:45:13 EST 2001

I said

>The thing is that when people talk about "seeing or >visualising" 
>what they read I'm never sure if they are describing >what i do or 
>something more intense. It reminds me of Cat trying to >use 
>witch sight. Any image that I have is elusive, it can't be pinned 
>>down or looked at head on.  

and Rebecca replied

>Yes that, but I think my version may be more intense.  Most 
>v>isual cues are more elusive at first, but after reading Hexwood a 
>few times I can see very clearly Banner's wood with a yellow 
>pretzel bag

It's a crisp bag -- you're translating! It happens several times too (I 
have a cat on my skirt or I'd find the book and check) but I think it's 
 a ring pull (from a can)  rather than a pop top and I'm pretty sure it 
would have been a stream or ditch rather than groove. This is 
interesting -- seems to show that you are putting the images back 
into words rather than recalling the exact words.*

 by the root of one tree and then you climb over some
>>roots and go down the mud a ways and there's a pop top in the 
>mud and then there's this plank of wood that crosses a very small 
>groove, but as you go over it the groove becomes a gorge with 
>running water, and I couyld go on and on.  I once, when I was 
>quite bored, and had read the book recently re"read" the entirty of 
>Hexwood by playing the images I got from it in my head in order.  

And your words conjured up my own picture (total sensory image)  
of Hexwood. I very much focus on the feel of an English wood in 
early spring, the way the bushes look with that fuzz of very bright 
green, and, yes, the odd bit of rubbish (and, something Dwj doesn't 
mention,  dog poo, I'm afraid to say.). My picture is sort of 
impressionistic. I think I've worked out the elusivity, I seem to be 
able to either see something in my head or put it into words, so I 
sort of switch from one thing to the other. 

I've never tried to take myself through a scene in a book in the way 
you describe howvere each book has a definite sensory impression 
for me. If I think about , say George RR Martin's Game of Swords 
series then its ice,  glittering painfully, in the deep blue shadow of 
the wall, and white wolves, ghosting, children playing as a hooded 
man turns away....... and I had to stop there because the hot part 
of the books was breaking through and a total memory cascade 
(avalanche) was on the cards. Hmm the year of the griffon
is all feathers ........ and the stool and it's making me laugh. These 
images are tied to the appearance of each book, I sometimes 
amuse myself by mentally rifling through my bookshelves.

*Digression of relevance: There was a programme on the box 
tonight about autistic professor, Temple Grandin. She said that her 
thinking is entirely visual and that in learning to talk she had to 
learn to translate her images into words. She says she has 
difficulty with abstract concepts -- not sure if I can explain this 
right, but, to get herself to consider what it meant to be leaving 
home to go to college she repeatedly enacted the scenario of going 
through a door until she was used to the idea. She works at 
designing humane slaughterhouses, from the point of view of giving 
the animals as painless and calm an expereince as possible. She 
said that people who think in words with no visuals must find it hard 
to believe that animals think.

The truth will make ye fret

Terry Pratchett, The Truth.
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