Read, Write Now” has changed and transmogrified over the years, though to honor its continuing foundations you can see below to the original statement of purpose associated with the blog. When I began the blog I was a relatively newly promoted full professor on a sabbatical beginning to work on what I thought would be a book on the nature of reading in our times that never quite came off. In the midst of that I was interested in all the newly available means of publishing, connecting with audience, trying out ideas, as well as how all those means affected what it meant for us to be readers. So Reading and writing, and right now. As the original statement suggests, this kind of title also gave me some sense of flexibility since text is more ubiquitous than ever. If some forms of reading have suffered, there’s way more of it in our time than any time before. So thinking about textuality and language still lets me think about diverse issues.
The blog itself has become way more sporadic over the past four or five years, and this site is changing into more of a comprehensive professional website for me. I entered the administration not long after I started the blog, and so the interests have grown to include higher education, leadership, the humanities and how we are going to make our way in the world, if at all. Nevertheless, all of these things basically come back to what I’m reading, and how I think and write about what I’m reading, so if the purpose has become much larger than my original thoughts of experimenting with the ideas surrounding a book project, in many ways it remains faithful to that original intention. I think there are some risks the blog becomes too diffuse, rather than a focused resource for people interested in the problems of reading and writing. But it’s diversity represents the diversity of my interests, speculations, and aspirations, which are themselves broad and dispersed over the fascinating and endless range of human, natural and spiritual concern. If not everything here will engage everyone all the time, I hope something here will engage almost anyone at least some of the time.
Peter Kerry Powers–June 15, 2018
ORIGINAL STATEMENT OF PURPOSE–2007
“Read, Write, Now” is about…well…Reading, Writing, and Now. In other words, flexible enough to let me write about whatever happens to come to mind. But mostly it’s about reading–to some degree the things I am reading, but more specifically about reading as a phenomenon, as a human activity. The reading crisis, reading history, reading theories. In general I’m interested in how reading is imagined in this cultural moment. Everything from the image of reading in Harry Potter and Hannibal Lecter to the reading panic that besets governments from Korea to the USA. Still the “Now” part of “Read, Write, Now” lets me talk about anything, I guess, including the peculiar tendency of New Yorkers to think of those of us residing west of longitude 73 as provincial. A tendency I find….provincial.
I hesitate to say I’m a professor, because I think folks find that off-putting. However, there is nothing for it. Nevertheless, I’m hoping to use this blog not to convey expertise so much as to explore my own writing process. After having worked for ten years on a book manuscript related to African American literature, masculinity, and religion, I’ve started to explore a brand new obsession. Given that I work better when I write for someone, and given that blogging seems to be a new form of reading that’s mushroomed in the last decade, it seems right. Though I’m old fashioned enough to hope that what comes of this is published in paper rather than on a Kindle. I hope you’ll help.
Contact me at ppowers at messiah dot edu