Getting meaning from others meanings who got meanings from others meanings…




Once I realized that all text are inspired by other texts, a melancholic wave came over me. Why create anything if it will just be an imitation of something. As a creative, I strive to create something unique, to pour my vision into my work/words. Rooze mentions the various way texts can get meaning from other texts: Thomas Jefferson writing of the declaration of independence inspired by Locke’s social construct theory, Euripides writings, political pamphlets etc. A more recent example is the way courts in the United States defer to the ruling of the supreme court. Continuing this example, he mentions it doesn’t even have to be a text, even conversations can be used to gather meaning to your text.

This is a thought that might strike the same feeling to writing students. How can I add something new to the conversation if everything has been said? Well, some semblance of hope can be found in the ever-changing subject that is genre. Davidson mentions how creating/evolving genres is not an task for a singular writer but rather a series of event done over time by multiple writers. This gives us, in my opinion, hope that the ever changing genres will create new opportunities for new idea to emerge.

The idea of subgenres always gave me comfort. I used to work at a bookstore [it’s commonly known. It’s name a homage to farm life and nobility]…so when a particularly difficult customer needed a particularly specific book, the categorical genres would be divided further. For example, a customer looking for a kids book for their 3 year old who like dinosaurs would directed to the kids department, then to The things to learn section, then the animals subsection and finally to the dinosaurs subsubsection. Everything neatly categorized. I digress.


2 responses to “Getting meaning from others meanings who got meanings from others meanings…”

  1. Chris Friend Avatar

    Can these two approaches to genre somehow theoretically coexist? Genre-as-category in a bookstore serves the purposes of bookstores but not of authors trying to write books. Genre-as-textual-action serves the purposes of writing scholars but possibly not booksellers. Do the two theories converge in some situation, or am I doomed to repeat, “no, that’s not what I mean by genre” for the rest of my days?

    1. JustErik Avatar

      As of late, in my classes and my personal life, I find myself unconsciously saying “categorically“ genre when speaking. To make the clear distinction that I’m not using the old term for it.
      I believe the threshold concept is already ingrained too deep. Why regress to black and white when you see color?

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