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Random Thoughts

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Hudson Cooper
Posted 2/4/22

Like most writers, I take the time to try to use the perfect words in a sentence. With each edit, I fine tune my selection of words so that you, my loyal readers, are properly entertained.

Ernest …

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Random Thoughts

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Like most writers, I take the time to try to use the perfect words in a sentence. With each edit, I fine tune my selection of words so that you, my loyal readers, are properly entertained.

Ernest Hemingway, in one of his famous novels, painstakingly took the time to create the ideal sentences so his readers could “see” the struggles of the old man.

  1. Scott Fitzgerald crafted the words in his most well-known novel to make Gatsby seem great not just good.

After I finish my first draft, I let the piece marinate for a day before I begin the editing process. Sometimes in the edit I find a more creative way to express my thoughts. For example, during an edit for this column I replaced the word “sit” in the first sentence of this paragraph with the more colorful word “marinate.”

The careful construction of a piece of writing is what an author owes the reader. Which brings me to the subject of this column... speed reading. Why should a writer fret and fuss over the perfect word when a speed reader rushes past it at 100 miles an hour?

In 1959 Evelyn Wood developed a system that she called “dynamic reading.” It is more well known simply as “speed reading.” Studies show that the average person reads at a rate of about 300 words a minute.

She claimed her system increased that rate to about ten times that amount. If so and using her calculations, you could finish this column, which is about 650 words, in about twelve seconds. As an added bonus, she professed that her method would improve your comprehension.

The dynamics of her method involved changing the way a person was taught to read. Instead of reading words from left to right and line by line, her disciples placed a finger at the top of a page and quickly moved it downward as they took in large chunks of verbiage giving them the gist of the piece.

Essentially, she wanted her students to see complete thoughts instead of individual words and sentences. Also, her students were instructed never to bother rereading and to stop the practice of reading aloud in their head.

As a finger zipped down the page it was up to their brain to process chunks of thoughts that hopefully led to comprehending what was printed on the pages.

How about if you give it a try? The next paragraph is from one of my earlier columns. Do not read it word for word or line by line. Place your finger at the beginning. As you move your finger quickly downward try to absorb pieces of thoughts instead of individual words and sentences.

“The same result happens in math. If you do not use it, you lose it. But I do remember some of the basic concepts of calculus. The two major functions are integrals and derivatives. I remembered the words but had to look them up to know what they meant. According to “It All Adds Up,” a non-existent math text by Felix Numba, the derivation of a function is the rate of change of the function. The integral is the area under the curve of the function. What that means is, unless you work for NASA and are programming a mission to Uranus, calculus has no use in your life.”

Without rereading the paragraph, what do you remember? I suspect you knew it was about calculus and Uranus. You probably recall seeing a lot about math. You almost certainly saw the word Uranus. That is because even though you were not allowed to say it “aloud in your head” you might have laughed when you saw Uranus, remembering its former pronunciation in elementary school.

My advice is to stick to reading the way you were taught. What’s the rush? Enjoy the simple task of reading at your leisure. Take a break from the world outside and lose yourself in some enjoyable reading.

Let that marinate for a while.

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