Language(s) and the Difficulty of Reading and Writing

Posted on March 31, 2007. Filed under: musing, quotation, reading, writing |

I have been dumbstruck for the last hour or so by a series of videos and writings by Amanda Baggs, a brilliant writer and videographer who is also artistic. (You can watch an 8-minute video on YouTube that illuminates her own ability to communicate and how others fail to understand her as a thinking, communicative being, here: “In My Language“; it is challenging, thoughtful, lyrical, and hands-down the most informative and most beautiful thing I have yet to see on YouTube.)

Baggs also has a blog,, and it is here that I found the irresistible quotation that’s led to this post. In her “Things There Should Be Words For” she writes about a topic I have often mused on myself: why isn’t there a word for… X…? Or Y? And she captures something that, as a writing teacher, I have so often wished there was a word for. I’m sure you’ll recognize it:

“The state of being able to write but unable to read, and therefore unable to check over what you’re writing to see if it makes sense or not. (May feel like you’re not making sense even if you are.)”

Why isn’t there an actual word for this oh-so-common state writers get into? And/or, what could the appropriate word be? (Sadly, Baggs doesn’t offer any suggestions for the words, only definitions.)


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