Why can’t Jaya read?

After the fourth year of my English degree I learned I had Irlen Syndrome. In a way, this was a major victory–I knew the name of the problem. It was the reason I’d fallen asleep after ten minutes reading Jane Austen, the reason I couldn’t remember a character’s name from the previous page, the reason I had to reread a long sentence several times to find the subject, the verb. But it was confounding–I loved literature! I love words, I love learning, I love languages. I’d gotten by at Queen’s never reading more than 30% of a syllabus. So how was I getting the information? How could I write essays about books I’d read only part of, and about which I had heard a few lectures? This disconnection–not learning in the way we are supposed to–has fuelled my view on education. It has brought me back to the body and is the backbone of this blog and my interest in general: how are we engaged with learning/acquiring new information? Advertising has examples of this, music videos aplenty, Human Interface addresses this. Where is our BODY in learning?

Today I was thinking about this because of my relationship to the news. I don’t watch the news much. I don’t think many people from my generation do. It’s alienating and traumatic: you hear about deaths and crisis, and there’s never any follow up. But do I want that human-interest “angle”? It always feels like you’re being *pitched * to. It’s tiresome. I care about the people around me, I want community. I want engagement. Where the body is concerned, what is engagement? Is it touch? Is it counterbalance? Is it chasing, or being chased? Our body knows, and I plan on listening to it more.

I can never find quite the right picture for my posts when they’re abstract like this, so I just picked something strange. It’s from a blog about a Vietnamese modern dance performance.



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