This post by Douglas Carlson originally appeared on Brevity on 1/18/14.
That slight tremor on August 15, 2013—which passed without much notice in the rest of the world—was the earth shifting at The Georgia Review. On that day we began accepting electronic submissions. On August 18th an essay came in online that caught my eye. But after I read it a couple times, I found myself making a few lukewarm notes in preparation for moving it along to the next reader: “strong start, good closing, fuzzy in the middle—an ambitious essay that lost its focus.” For some reason that I don’t recall now, I decided to print the essay out and give it another try. You know where this is going: I immediately understood what the author was up to and loved the piece. It has been accepted for publication, and the whole incident has given me pause to realize that I don’t think that I read as well—that is, with the same level of perception—from a screen as I do from paper. Nothing against my iPad, which I dearly love, or even the big old Dell on my desk, but when I read at my job I’m evaluating the efforts of working writers, most of whom care and grind and hope. I owe them the courtesy of my complete attention and comprehension.