Some Words About Reading Together

We launched the second arm of our new event series this Tuesday, the Readeasy Writers’ Group. The group’s there to provide writers of all levels of experience with a chance to hear their work read and discussed in a safe and supportive space. As we keep hammering on about, Inky Fingers really believes in writer development: we think that writing shouldn’t just be a solitarity, hidden activity – that it should be something social, something we seek to share. We think that all writers get better when they talk about their work with other writers.

so it was really gratifying to have a small but enthusiastic and talented group for the first Readeasy session. We heard a pretty even balance of poetry and prose, with everyone reading aloud someone else’s work, which is an interesting way of getting an immediate understanding of voice. We talked about each piece for around fifteen minutes, but the conversations were extraordinarily wide-ranging. We’d discuss our favourite moments and why they worked, our general impressions, but also regularly veer off into the theory of writing, reading and performing.

One of the subjects we kept coming back to, of course, was interpretation. For as long as people have been communicating with art (which I reckon is as long as people have been communicating, which itself is pretty much as long as people have been people), they’ve probably been trying to puzzle out who contributes to the meaning of that communication and why, and what truth is. Things may have got a bit more interesting and complicated still since the death of the author and everything, but I reckon it’s just another perspective on the same debate. So it’s no surprise it would crop up again. Of course, when you’re talking about the interpretation of the author’s work while the author is there, albeit anonymously, things could get heated – but actually the conversation was always respectful, and always bracing. If nothing else, it’s vital for authors to hear how others interpret their work, in order for them to become better communicators.

So we’re pleased, and we’re looking forward to the next session. That’ll be on December 7th. But before then we’ve got our performance-focussed open mic to enjoy, on November 23rd. We hope to see you at one of our events soon!

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