Q: Tomorrow is the first day of high school around here, and I’ll be teaching 14-and 15-year olds language arts. I was just wondering [what] you would say to young people about the importance of reading…
A: Oh, dear. [Audience laughter.] Well, it’s difficult. That’s a good question, a tough question. It’s … such a huge thing for me, that it’s really a stretch for me to imagine its opposite. And that makes it difficult for me.
Think kids. These black marks on this white paper? It’ll make you have really intense CG-like experiences [audience laughter] in your head. But only when you’ve learned to interpret them within an extremely rigid and complicated [set of] rules. And you’ll then have to be introduced into the cultural nature of enjoying this ancient but vivid platform which I’m hoping you will take up and cherish. [Audience laughter & applause.]
Spoken with a trace, a hint, of the southern accent that marks the home of his youth and appropriate inflection that a written account misses. Entirely!