I really enjoyed reading Guy Patrick Cunningham’s piece on writing in fragments. He really draws the reader into his work with his first lines, “More and more, I read in pieces. So do you” (Cunningham “Fragmentary: Writing in a Digital Age”). His way of acknowledging the reader within his first two sentences I think really captures and engages the reader into realizing that they too read in fragments, like Cunningham. Cunningham says the hyperlinks and ads that break text up are neither bad or good, which I think is a solid way to approach this topic, as it avoids binary thinking. As he says, reading in pieces is just a part of how we read today. I love the resemblance created between the images contained in Samuel Beckett’s “Text 2” and human memories, as humans tend to only remember specific parts of an event, and therefore our memories are of a fragmentary nature. When reading the excerpt of “Text 2” one can really imagine the images described, as well as hear the “voice” that is embedded in the text, which I think does very much echo a human memory. Later in the article Cunningham mentions how he has read Hamlet multiple times, and when he “remembers” the play it is certain lines that he thinks of. This reinforces how the human memory is of fragmented nature, as one remembers smaller pieces when thinking of a larger picture.
I find the mention of rereading interesting. Cunningham says that Beckett wrote in a time when rereading was widely encouraged, therefore, his writing probably reflected that idea. I feel people today don’t reread books, articles, etc. nearly as much as in the past. Why is this? I find it really interesting that Cunningham copied out fragments of Shields’ Reality Hunger so when he wants to “reread” it, he has his own private version to jog his memory. Cunningham believes Shields’ wants the reader to interact with the work, which brings to mind blogging in which the reader is encouraged to comment and leave links etc. He brings up the concept of “retweeting” on Twitter, which I think creates fragmentation, as I cannot count the number of times I have become distracted from clicking on tweets other people have retweeted.
What do you think of fragmented reading? Do you have any other modern examples (such as Twitter) that apply?
Cunningham, Guy Patrick. “Fragmentary: Writing in a Digital Age.” The Millions.
The Millions, 24 January 2012. Web. 7 November 2015.