I’m Going on an iPad Diet

DSC_0485My grandmother once told me she saw me reading the backs of cereal boxes at the breakfast table when I was four.

I’ve been a reader ever since.

Books are my solace, my hope, my escape, and a very real need. I can’t sleep without several by my bedside at night, and I’m almost giddy with delight in a bookstore.

But lately,  I’ve noticed I’m reading differently.  I’m  inattentive. A mind wanderer. It takes me weeks to finish a not-so-very-long novel.  Some books, I’ve abandoned altogether.  I’ve got commitment issues.

And I blame it on my iPad.

Somehow, the iPad’s evolving me from a reader to a sampler. I move from blog to blog and site to site like trees in an orchard, plucking at  a writer’s words like pieces of fruit here and there along the way to the next, more visually appealing tree down the path.

I don’t think I  like the reader I’m becoming.

And I question what all this means for me as a writer.

Does anyone read what I write? Do you read all the way to the end of a post? Has photography become the interior decorating on this blog? The picture hook I hang my words on?

I’ve known for awhile that I’m more visual than ever. I’ve known my reading attention is limited by a scan, rather than in-depth thought and processing. I’m not sure how much meaning I make either as I scroll, pinch, tap, and type.  A writer’s words, truthfully, probably grab me only after I’ve browsed the pictures first.

So I’m going on an iPad diet.

I’ve been sampling too much and reading too little.

Going forward, you’ll find me holding a book at bedtime. I’ll read next to the soft, yellow glow of a lamp on the nightstand instead of the harsh, blue light of  the electronic device on my lap.  This week, I’ll curl up with Stephen King’s On Writing A Memoir of the Craft instead of Pinterest.

And every once in awhile, I’ll bring that book to my nose … to smell the pages.

I wonder how much more weight my words will hold if I leave you with only one picture instead of four or five?

Will you read anyway?

I’m hopeful you will.

4 thoughts on “I’m Going on an iPad Diet

  1. Of course we will! I look forward to it. And I totally agree with you – I think it’s important to recognize, however, that sampling is the style of reading nonfiction. It’s also important to experience this so we can help students differentiate between when to sample and when to take the time to enjoy the whole meal.
    I have rediscovered books lately, probably because of my shift in schedule, and is digital as I am I’ve never been able to be a digital reader beyond blogs Etc. as you mentioned. This journey is important for all of us. The more we recognize the many ways of readings ourselves the more we can pass that onto our students. You may feel like you have straight off the path, but I think you are right back where you need to be.

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    1. I agree. There are times when sampling’s important. I’m working on building stamina for digital reading with my students. Many times they’re clicking away rather than sustaining their reading for information. All of these are skills we need to teach, and I think I first notice them in myself! By the way, I read myself silly yesterday! 🙂

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  2. I had to do similarly. Long reading is almost something you have to practice. I deleted apps and gave myself permission not to read all the things online and now i can read books! Just finished a thousand page fantasy and it was a lovely reprieve from my nonfiction habit. Enjoy!!

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    1. I fell asleep reading last night with the light on. That hasn’t happened in a really long time. I’m pretty deep into the book I started Saturday already and amazed by how much I’ve read. You’re right. I’ve been out of practice!

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