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English

Reading and Responding: Close Reading a Text

In this response to the reading, the author speaks informally to the reader about writing itself, and the process that goes along with it. The writer acts to explain the complex writing process all writers go through in their creative process, and how it is certainly more complex than most would imagine.

The writer’s informal tone definitely adds to the strength, and therefore the overall applicability of the article to anyone and everyone. The writer’s language choice showed their experience in the field, as well as highlighted certain passages. For example, in the very first sentence the writer chooses the adjective “shitty” to describe first drafts, rather than a more proper description. This was done intentionally to catch the reader’s attention, and engage them from the beginning.

The next few paragraphs serve a few purposes to aid in the overall intent of the piece. While the first paragraph defines what the writer will be discussing, the following paragraphs give the reader an idea into the true writing process, rather than the perception of such. This is achieved in a few different ways, but primarily with literary devices. The concrete imagery in the second paragraph begins to paint a picture, solidified by the quote dead in the middle. In addition, the writer display’s their humor when speaking about another writer, clearly a contemporary, by also paying homage.

The writer then proceeds to explain exactly what they mean by a “shitty first draft”, and how writers have them–as well as how healthy they are in the creative process. This was given application by the writers’ personal account of experiences they had themselves–this makes the piece as a whole more believable, relatable, and effective.

Now, the writer uses a series of very well articulated metaphors to sort of “sum up”, or simplify the writing process. Between the proverbial “vinegar-lipped Reaper Lady”, or “William Burroughs shooting up”, the writer paints an incredibly accurate picture as to the voices that go on in their head while trying to perfect a writing piece. They then speak of the necessity to “quiet” the voices, before bringing the piece back to earth.

The writer takes something only a writer would relate to, and made it universally applicable and clear by explaining in detail the exercise they use in order to silence these metaphorical, or proverbial, “voices” that serve to clutter the mind when composing a writing piece. Though this exercise includes another metaphor, it is concrete with images, and meant to be understood by all.

This is of course with reference to the experience with the hypnotist, and the advice the hypnotist gave the writer. Picturing every possible audience member as the size of a mouse leaves the writer in control, especially when these “mice” are placed into confinement. This allows the writer to isolate their audience, understand who that target audience is, and make sure their piece is composed to this standard. This is especially important to the author in the later stages of revision.

This piece was an incredibly informative, effective, relatable, and easy to read piece of creative nonfiction. The writer literally writing about writing gave insight into the creative process, as well as the invaluable experience-based knowledge passed on. The tone, however, is what truly moved the article along, and transformed it from a writing piece to a composed writing piece.