I Like Description

In the English language there is one very specific word that says exactly what you mean.

The question is whether you know it.

-Maxim of Wyatt Fairlead


I am the sort of person who has a very active imagination.  Not in the sense that many use the term, where you think up strange things, or you start to imagine that you are seeing things that you aren’t or whatever; but in the sense that when I hear a description or I am reading about a particular scene in a book, my mind automatically pictures the events unfolding.  (Very similar to what it is like when you are remembering specific scenes from a movie, only my mind is creating it.)  I don’t think that is a particularly unusual thing to have happen to people; it is just particularly vivid in my mind.  That being the case, I always enjoy well done description in books.  Description that is well done makes it easy for you to see what the author wants you to see but leaves a little “wiggle room”, so to speak, for your imagination as well.

Perhaps another reason why I like description so much is that it allows the author to create an object, person, or environment with out the actual struggle of doing it.  That sounds somewhat nonsensical at first, but allow me to explain.  For the vast majority of my life I have been trying and failing to create the exact representation of what I am picturing in my head.  My imagination would come up with intricate medieval weapons, or monstrous citadels.  Probably the most common was an 18th century frigate under full sail crashing through the top of a wave with sea spray creating rainbows in the sunset sky.  (Believe me; that one never came close to happening.)  The problem is, I can’t do it.  I don’t have the skill to create in the physical world what is in my head, be it in drawing, building, or any other medium I try.  What description allows me and anyone else to do is create exactly what is in the imagination in someone else’s head.  Description isn’t the same as the physical reality, but it is the next best thing, and it enables us to create something that we wouldn’t ordinarily be able to.  There is something about good description that sparks the imagination and I love it when that happens.

Wyatt Fairlead


The Awe In Sunsets

I was going through some of the pictures on my computer and rediscovered this sunset.  I took this while on an evening walk down our road.  I remember it being breathtaking at the time, and as I look at the picture I can’t help but get frustrated at technology’s inability to capture the real grandeur of this beautiful creation.  On the other hand, I continue to look at the picture and remember the actual event, which was long forgotten without it.  I suppose it is also worth mentioning that if we could look at a picture of any place in the world and feel the same sense of awe, it would detract from the awe we would be able to feel in real life.  For example, what makes seeing the Grand Canyon or The Canadian Rockies, spectacular?  Isn’t it the fact that as you stand there, on the edge of a one-mile deep gorge that may be as wide as 18 miles across, that there is nothing that can quite compare?  Isn’t it he fact that its massive proportions are something out of everyday experiences?

We would have a much harder time finding something to awe us if we could feel that sense of splendor whenever we wanted by simply viewing a two dimensional image.

Of course these are exaggerated examples but I think that it is the same principle.  As soon as something becomes common it is no longer uncommon.  This makes perfect sense and it is something we all know intuitively but at the same time, we rarely acknowledge it.  Special days are special because they are…special.  If you do what you would do on special days every day, it is no longer special.  Your favorite food will not be your favorite food if you eat it three times a day for a few months. (If you don’t believe me, try it.)  Therefore beautiful sunsets are only considered beautiful if you don’t see ones like them every single day.

I’m glad a picture just isn’t the same.

Wyatt Fairlead