I just had this inkling to write. Write about my current state of mind and the way I have been resonating with literature and the ideas of scholars that I have come across in the past few days, as well as the novels that I have been reading. I know there are a lot of people who think of literature or “English” courses and just associate it with being something so boring and time-consuming. “Why read this book that this professor assigned me? 20 pages? Do they not realize I have better things to do?” I get it. But maybe listening and paying attention to my thoughts might change your perspective – don’t think of this as reading a post. think of it as listening. let me know what you think.
The reason I love literature is because of its universality. Think of music. It is one of the few things that allows us to connect with our thoughts and our passions and the world outside of ourselves. Literature, to me, does the same thing. I watched a great conversation yesterday at my college given by two fascinating artists/writers/storytellers – Terry Tempest Williams and Colum McCann. A good friend of mine emailed me after the event and asked my opinion of it – this is it. I feel like it really encapsulates my exact thoughts on the state of literature, the importance of getting to know the people around us, and the way in which it allows us to be more empathetic.
“so sorry i’m just now getting back to this. I loved it so much. it really resonated with me. mainly the discussion about the importance of listening to people and understanding the fact that everyone in this world is worth getting to know. everyone has these cognitive processes and complex ways of thinking about life and the way in which it is bigger than ourselves and people need to actually pay attention. pay attention to the strangers passing by. pay attention to the things people say/write/etc. i mean me, for example, i’m extremely quiet in class settings. but i’m so much more than the quiet person in class. just like the student who always speaks up in class is so much more than the student who always speaks up in class. i reallly resonated with this. and i see it’s connections in the novels i’m reading – these stream of consciousness readings. getting in the mind of all these characters like in Mrs. Dalloway.
As the authors mentioned yesterday – it’s something as simple as listening that can make a person more empathetic. and in class today we discussed the way in which literature makes us more empathetic the more we immerse ourselves into it. and i just thought , yes!! exactly. because when we read literature we are LISTENING to the character and we discover so much about these characters and can discover things about ourselves and the world around us. and these characters are just ordinary people. Clarissa Dalloway is just a person. Stephen Dedalus is just a person. But the point is they are people worth getting to know. every person is a hidden gem. it just takes listening and paying attention to help us realize this.”