I was written as an example of self-referential writing. In this node I am taking a voice for myself. Normally this would be a mistake. However I have been written this way to prove a point. Of course, I do have an author, yet I suppose it would be missing the point if you were to point out that I am just a piece of text, and cannot be assigned motivation. What I am intended to do is to challenge you to ask yourself questions about both writing and things written, and in what ways they can both be used. An author writes a text with some set of motivations, and any given reader sees a different text. So in a way, the text is its own entity. Forget the author, at least for now. What the author intended is no more important then what I intend or you intend.

It isn't necessary to give a text its own dramatic voice for it to be self referential. In fact, the text is always present, as a separate entity, whether we acknowledge it or not. A "self-aware text" (more on that later) on the other hand is one which suggests its own existence as an object of consideration. That is the reason for why I was given a voice. It was an overt method (a little campy I admit) to demonstrate an important point: I'm not a person, but I am a thing, and I exist outside of you and outside of the author, yet the reaction I cause within you as you read me (or perhaps read me again, since it will never be quite the same twice) is yours alone.

I contain more thoughts about self-aware text. In theater, a character is said to be self-aware if he or she breaks the fourth wall. Would it be fair to say that writing has a fourth wall as well? How often does a novel interrupt its narrative to describe something out of context? Would the author interrupt the narrative (more often than not, a novel or short story is told with one voice, and so it is effectively a monologue) in order to describe how he had just had the most awful itch? Or had just been interrupted by a phone call? The text provides a barrier between the time as it happens to the author who is writing a narrative, time as it happens to the reader, by creating a third time, the story time.

Self Reference along with circular definition is often used to create logical paradox. Most famously, "This sentence is not true." I wasn't written to talk about logic, however. I'm all about writing, prose in particular but I'm sure I'd apply to poetry as well.

In addition to being self referential, I am also reflexive. That is to say, not only do I refer to myself, I exhibit introspection. However, the term reflexive writing seems to have been given up to mean something a little bit different, as in, writing in which the author introspects upon himself.

I instead am an example of text that breaks the fourth wall, breaks out of its page so to speak, in order to speak to the reader about itself. A self-aware story, the concept is not new, but when encountered it has the effect of standing out.

So, what is interesting about self referential writing? Obviously, a text whose only subject is itself would not be very engaging. However, I state referential writing is interesting for at least two reasons. One is that it could prove a useful tool for interesting writing if used carefully. Second, it is done often enough, sometimes unintentionally, that it deserves some attention. Just like any other grammatical rule, you have to know the rules before you can break them and (hopefully) not be written off as a result. This is the last line of this writeup, in which it is pointed out that the first line of this paragraph is exactly the sort of self referential writing which should be avoided.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.