What I write does not reproduce me, it re-defines me…

Totally not me…all Jeanette Winterson.

After a pretty brain draining weekend and much-needed rest, I’m back and trying to catch up and hoping to hit the publish button on a couple of pieces I’ve been neglecting working on for a couple of weeks. I’ve been studying (and doing lots of independent research). I’m not even in grad school (yet).

So, what gets me back into writing mode? It’s simple. Reading.

In Winterson’s essay, Writer, Reader, Words, I found a rather illuminating excerpt about the cyclical nature of art, writing, and reading I wanted to share.

Art is a way into other realities, other personalities. When I let myself be affected by a book, I let into myself new customs and new desires. The book does not reproduce me, it re-defines me, pushes at my boundaries, shatters the palings that guard my heart. Strong texts work along the borders of our minds and alter what already exists…Art is conscious and its effect on its audience is to stimulate consciousness. This is sexy, this is exciting, it is also tiring, and even those who welcome art-excitement have an ordinary human longing for sleep. Nothing wrong with that but we cannot use the book as a pillow.

~ Jeanette Winterson, British Novelist

Trust me, my laptop might as well be my pillow!! One of my mentors and dear friends reminded me that the most skilful writer is able to explain complexity with simplicity. That is extremely difficult to do and I think that’s why reading (constantly) and writing (constantly) cannot stop. Of course, I’ll leave it up to Haruki Murakami or Hunter S. Thompson for the truly mind altering texts but I hope the longer I write and keep up with my practice that my ramblings become eloquently written prose and my opinions become a conduit towards critical thought.


Author: Dorothy R. Santos

Dorothy R. Santos (b. 1978) is a Filipina-American writer, editor, curator, and educator whose research interests include new media and digital art, activism, artificial intelligence, and biotechnology. Born and raised in San Francisco, California, she holds Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and Psychology from the University of San Francisco, and received her Master’s degree in Visual and Critical Studies at the California College of the Arts. She serves as one of the editors-in-chief for Hyphen magazine. Her work appears in art21, Art Practical, Daily Serving, Rhizome, Hyperallergic, and SF MOMA's Open Space. She has lectured at the De Young museum, Stanford University, School of Visual Arts, and more. Her essay “Materiality to Machines: Manufacturing the Organic and Hypotheses for Future Imaginings,” was published in The Routledge Companion to Biology in Art and Architecture (2016). She is currently a Yerba Buena Center for the Arts fellow researching the concept of citizenship. She also serves as executive staff for the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism and board member for the SOMArts Cultural Center.

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