Throughout the introduction and the first chapter of Joseph Harris' book, Rewriting, Harris seems to emphasize the idea that reading and writing is more of a cooperative task than an individual one. When reading the work of another, he thinks it is important to "come to terms" with the text by reading it with a mix of "generosity" and "skepticism". I was intrigued by how he explained the perspective he thought you should take when writing academically. He said that when writing about another person’s text your focus should not be on explaining what they are trying to say; rather, your focus must be to explain what you took from their writing. The writing itself should be focused on your own ideas and thoughts about what the other has written. In essence you are using the other person’s text for your own devices. BUT Harris also stresses that you should give the text you are referencing its “due”.
Both Harris and Sullivan describe reading and writing as a conversation: an extensive conversation, not only between, reader and writer, but also between, writer and writer. It stretches across time and location. I guess I had never thought about the actual authors of things I had read in that context. I had never put them on my level before; rather I have always taken their work as having much more authority than mine. It never occurred to me that my work has just as much value to this “global conversation” as that of a more prominent author.