Eyes Open

The oak tree keeps its dead leaves through winter, dropping them in spring. Its dark trunk slides through the bronze leaves, gilded by the sunset over the frozen snow-covered lake.

The healing burn on my hand looks horrific now, but at its most painful it simply looked like a large blister.

When I look through the glass of the patio door at this angle, it is so wavy from age that objects beyond it, trees, mostly, seem to move as I adjust position in my office chair.

There’s almost no difference between the ATV tracks in the snow and those you’d see in sand.

As the sun sets, shining slightly in my eyes, the house looks darker by contrast, when in fact it is lighter than at any other time of day.

The knots holding the dining room chair cushions in place are never even; one always off to the side or listing somewhat to port.

snow fence

Many readers claim they don’t like too much description in the books they read.

Writers comment that they don’t like writing it.

On both sides, the challenge is that it is so difficult to state explicitly what we go through life experiencing so casually, without thought.

The right level of description gives your writing a setting. Like the setting of a precious gem, it’s not the focus, but without it, the gem floats without context.

Learn to write good description.

You cannot write good description if your eyes aren’t open.

What do you see right now?

3 thoughts on “Eyes Open

  1. Nice Joel. Reading the second part, from an existential point of view, I hear something so valuable to me that it is absolutely fascinating.

    First, what I HEAR is that one has to Pay Attention. To pay attention to what Is Happening right here and right now. Simple enough. Never easy, of course.

    Second, what is absolutely fascinating, really beyond cognition, is that people who think in all their different ways and have all their varying belief systems HEAR what you wrote in this or that way, but the question is whether it is not just all exactly the same thing that’s being said.

    Kind of like the (proverbial?) 26 ways to say “snow” in the Native Alaskan languages. Anyway, thanks, very enjoyable going through that exercise, I always appreciate you and Sue.


  2. I am, of late, most aware of mindfulness. (Is that metamindfulness?)

    From Dale Carnegie’s other book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living I learned the lesson of day-tight compartments: when yesterday’s lessons have been learned, leave the mistakes behind; when tomorrow has been reasonably prepared for, stop preparing.

    And then live today. All of it, not just bits and pieces.

    That’s a lifetime of gentle effort for someone like me. I’ve realized recently that my best friend, on the other hand, is one of those rare people who instinctively thinks that way. Being around him is peaceful.

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