The Reader

To whom then am I addressed? To the imagination!
William Carlos Williams

Writing is behavior that addresses a reader. This paragraph is an act of writing because I intend for you to read it. Granted, I don’t know you as anything other than my reader; I don’t have any biographical information about you. How, then, can I address myself to you? I must, of course, imagine you as someone who is literate, as someone who is able to read, but must I imagine that you are able to read in English? Actually, no; to write is to engage in behavior that is essentially translatable. I am addressing myself to you, either directly, as the reader of the blog into the text editor of which I am literally typing this, or indirectly, as the reader of a (human or machine) translation or a (charitable or uncharitable) quotation. In fact, I am even addressing myself to you as the reader of an interpretation, a paraphrase, of this paragraph by a (friendly or unfriendly) critic. Importantly, I am addressing you as a reader who would have gotten this far in the paragraph’s original context. You are a reader who is interested in writing.

Note: for the next four weeks I’m writing one paragraph like this a day. My plan is to practice what I preach and compose them deliberately in writing moments.

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