If there’s one thing I’ve learned while reading Picture Of Dorian Gray, it’s overcoming the romantic notion that books are sacred, and should be read within some sacredly focused mindset. If the book resonates well, then sure, read like that. If the book or any media doesn’t, then it’s alright to keep the book open in a tab and read a paragraph while something loads, like we would spend that time reading a text message.
This might seem like a scathing criticism of the book; at most, I’d say I like it just enough.
The reason I’m exploring this whole dedicated or full-screen versus partially-focused debate of meandering through media is that it can help me figure out how to consume more media. That could help you, too. Novels, like this, are one of those media that most might approach with mistrusting hesitation.
I think it’s because we only have a certain amount of energy for some things.
In our sacred media consumption time, we may only be able to read what I call the “royal three pages” of a book. That’s just long enough for people to say “yeah, I’m reading this book,” before their attention span drops off and they focus on something else. I’m guilty of this, which is why I want to learn to fix it.
For books I’ve loved, I’ve had no trouble dedicating the “full-screen focus.”
For books like Gray, while I like it well enough and want to finish reading it, I won’t buy a physical copy and I won’t revisit it at length. I find giving it a 3-star rating is useful here because I can say that while it’s good, it’s not something I want to give as much effort to as a 4-star or 5-star media, yet I still want to finish it.
How about something closer to a 5-star experience?
5-star media are the sorts of full-screen experiences where I will often dedicate the time to meandering through them at length. That should be said with caution, however, because otherwise if we hold media in such high regard, like I did with FF7’s Wall Market, I never would have continued my media meandry.
I’ve established a compromise for myself while playing FF7.
I’ll play most of the game in windowed mode, so I can do other things like consult walkthroughs [to ruin surprises] or watch something else while grinding my party’s levels up, usually without music since I’ve heard it all before, but when there’s a dramatic or noteworthy moment, I’ll play it full-screened.
The fear is always meandering through 5-star media while exhausted.
I fell asleep while watching Midnight Gospel and woke up 8 hours later. While I love the show, even if that episode  was underwhelming, I’ve only recently been able to get my health under control, so my body was significantly more exhausted than I realized. When I shut everything down, I slept another 8 hours.
As I mentioned the rankings before, let me explain why that’s important to me.
I prefer not consuming 0- or 2-star media, but sometimes they’re good as negative palate cleansers, since I could then appreciate the mediocrity or even sublime nature of 3-star media. I could almost say my rankings are about the effort I would put into said media since sometimes I just want something low effort.
Would that be 0 versus 5 amounts of effort over a unit of time…?
I could go with that. I want to savor watching Midnight Gospel full-screen, whereas Listeners is decent enough to where I want to finish it, but windowed is fine. That sort of split focus might be offensive to some, however, the way I consider it is that it should be about meandering through media at your pace.
Is it better that I read Gray or not?
Does it matter that I read Gray with a sort of sacred focus where I analyzed every word, word choice within a sentence, sentence, and let those tastes meander on my mind’s tongue like a wine tasting? I’d rather save that effort for something I truly value, like the works of Thompson or Balzac.
So I keep my PDF of Gray open and read bits as I go about my computer day.
I might read a sentence while waiting for a page to load and I might read a paragraph while waiting for an action to finish in ENDLESS WAR. Curiously, I realized that just like how I can read messages from friends or websites while listening to music, I can now listen to music and read novels.
All I had to do was remove the sacrality from reading.
For those novels that I truly want to study to enhance my writing craft, sure, I will sit in my reading chair and I will focus on what I appreciate about them. For everything else, though, it’s good enough to not be so serious about the media. If it doesn’t resonate with me initially, it could always later.
I always like to say how I initially disliked Amon Amarth.
That was out of a lack of appreciation for death metal, so as I meandered through music, I developed an appreciation for their music. When, years later, I returned to their album Twilight of the Thunder God I had once disliked, I loved it! Who’s to say I can’t eventually find love for Gray, Listeners, or anything else?
That’s where, for me, it’s more important to meander than not.
Once you’ve had the experience, you can return to it, or as I’m reading Gray for a book club, we’ll talk about the book and I could be persuaded to consider different aspects than I’m currently considering. To that note, I am firmly not in the camp of people that “want to experience media again for the first time.”
I find no value in that.
I would prefer to have a distant reference point than none, perhaps meaning most media meandries hold little magic for me.
I’m fine with that.
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: The title popped up as I was looking over my writing calendar and realizing I had filled in the Tripping On slots but not Media Meandry, as well, and thinking about what I’ve learned about reading. This seems obvious, but it wasn’t for me. I actually was inspired to do this by tim rogers, based on how he wrote his novella-length essays, where he said he would keep the document open and write a sentence between other things.|
|Related: Other Media Meandry essays.|
|Screenshot: I thought of making this fancier, but then I realized, it’s effective enough.|
|Written On: 2020 June 15 [6:52am to 7:40am]|
|Last Edited: 2020 June 15 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|