visual words

Wednesday, December 10, 2003, at 09:08AM

By Eric Richardson

I feel literary today. In the past few days I've read more than I think I must have in the last year. First it was Beloved, by Toni Morrison. Then yesterday I started White Noise, by Don DeLillo. Today I finished it. 320+ pages in maybe 5 hours.

I'm not sure what it was that engrossed me so in White Noise. It felt like I was watching a movie. This movie was subtitled, and the words didn't really match up with what you know the characters were saying. Yet, the words you're reading on the screen touch you more than those you know are being said. They sound wrong, but they work beautifully.

Now I'm going to do a quick read of The Great Gatsby and then write a paper. The prompt: "Write a short and coherent essay to show how the first-person narrators in the fiction of Fitzgerald and DeLillo serve as a vehicle for romantic displacement and/or a disguise for paranoia." I'm looking for a spark.