This can alternatively be titled “Writing With Your Brain Turned On,” but we will get to that later.

Can you really read with your brain turned off? I’d argue yes, in a similar way you watch your favorite guilty pleasure T.V. show. You’re not reading with your intellect, you’re reading with your emotions (alone).

I’ll put it out there now that I don’t think this is awful in the same way I don’t think the occasional crap show is awful. It’s a mind break.

In How to Read Literature Like a Professor, Thomas C. Foster gives readers a basic outline on how to read while paying attention to what you’re reading. Or as the book’s subtitle reads, “A lively and entertaining guide to reading between the lines.”

Overall, it’s a good read. Some passages are a bit long-winded, like when a professor goes on and on when you understood their point ten minutes ago. So there was some light skimming.

Mostly, I wish I had read this book before taking my first literature class in college. Or high school even. I struggled at times in literature classes because I was always two seconds away from calling bologna on what the professor was saying the author meant by writing this or that.

I think Foster does a great job of laying out a framework for readers to work with in a way that was easy to understand.

I could sum it up by saying – all stories are just like other stories and by knowing which story a story takes after, it will broaden your understanding of it. Make sense? It’s a balance of memory, symbol and pattern.

More so what I got out of this is what it made me think about as a writer: writing with intent.

Many times I’ve wanted to write a college essay that read, “they used the color blue just ’cause they wanted to and it doesn’t mean anything,” – and it’s true…until it’s not.

Here’s where we get to the part about writing with your brain turned on:

Not everything has to mean something – how frustrating it would be to keep up with a million symbols in you own piece – but what you do use, use purposefully.

For example, in my poetry I tend to feature lots of birds and hands. Both symbols. Birds are used to represent freedom most of the time, if I don’t know that or use that to my advantage, I’m missing the mark with my writing.



Hey everyone – how’s your social distancing going? I’ve been working from home for about a week. I thought my homebody self would love it – turns out I only want to go home after I’ve been at work all day. I’m also having to squash the urge to online shop.