“The true mystery of the world is the visible.” Oscar Wilde
Oscar knew what he was talking about, and for someone as gabby as he could be, he had a gift for synecdoche, a fancy term for the-part-that-stands-for-the-whole. Twelve head of cattle, for instance. (And let’s hope those heads stand for the whole animals or we’re all of a sudden talking about Surrealism.)
Writers tussle with synecdoche all the time: are the seven piercings in Lola’s’ left ear enough to acquaint the reader or among those piercings do we have to know that one is a cross and another a skull and another a tiny airplane? Or is the quirky airplane enough and the others just typical Goth dress-up?
One thing writers do is make the visible world vivid again. It’s easy to get caught up in the quotidian and to find the stench of old ideas savory.
A poet named Nathaniel Tarn talks about “the rabbits in the divine upstairs that never could sing anything below.”
A line like that just slaps me around. I particularly love “divine.” I don’t want to write like Mr. Tarn, but he makes me want to write better. Or maybe just lean back and enjoy the mess I’ve made of things.
Whoops! I have to go now. Buddy has climbed the avocado tree and is pawing at the window. Maybe he has a message for me from the visible world.