New Tech City: The ‘Bi-literate’ Brain: The Key to Reading in a Sea of Screens - WNYC
AKA: “The deathblow to paper novels isn’t economic, it’s biology.”
AKA: “The Neuroscience of Why You Can’t Finish a Novel Anymore.”
This is a great piece hosted by Manoush Zomorodi at New Tech City. I like this show a lot, and I thought this was a really good take on a subject that is near and dear to many of us writers and readers. I’ve always felt that what is happening with regard to the divide between online and analog reading/writing isn’t really a bad thing. But it is a very NEW thing. And so our brains are still adapting to it. This is a good exploration of that, and sort of a less apocalyptic take on the subject then “The novel is dying” or “We’re all becoming dumber” or whatever else people like to say.
Aside: as somebody who writes and who often writes long-form this is what worries me about writing long-form and one of the reasons why, increasingly, I’m writing shorter flash pieces. The reality is this: for the most part, people are gonna skim long-form. And that sorta kills me. Because I value every word and every sentence. I just (kind of) wrote about that (along with a bunch of other stuff) here.
Aside two: as somebody who reads, I have become increasingly horrified with my inability to read long-form. (If I can’t read it, how can I expect other people to do it?) So I’ve started “practicing” my long-form reading, by not putting it as a secondary thing in my day, but as a primary thing to do. So I don’t do it right before bed or at any other time in the day when I’m tired. Instead, I’m working on doing it when I am most conscious and most alert. And I am trying to do it every day.
I am striving for a bi-literate brain.