‘I read a lot more than I write’
I read a lot more than I write, which includes reading over my own work, again and again, as an essential part of the writing process. And - even more importantly - reading other people’s writing.
I’ve taken so much away from majoring in literary studies, both during my undergrad course and in my Honours year, and one of the many things I’ve learnt is that readers make the best writers. I can't imagine not reading, and am really interested in the way stories shape our understandings of the world and ourselves and other people.
I think it was the novelist Ali Smith - whose work I love- who said that there ‘should be no person between the reader and the book’, and to me that’s one of the really beautiful and fascinating things about literature and the written word; its openness, and sometimes its uncertainty. What might be between the lines, in all that white space, and how the reader might bring his or her own experiences to the words on the page.
Smith’s point also means, of course, that the writing process can be long and slow. For me at least, it takes quite a long time to feel like something is finished, and ready to speak for itself, without an appendix or further explanation. My poems and stories tend to build around images, very gradually, and find their shape out of constant rereading and rewriting.
Jo Langdon is a PhD candidate and sessional tutor in creative writing and literary studies at Deakin University. She has published short fiction and poetry, and is the author of a chapbook of poems, Snowline (Whitmore Press, 2012).