Caress the detail, the divine detail. Language play.

I don’t consider myself a writer by any means.  I am a visual artist inspired by the written word.  I love gathering sources, collecting, researching, gathering.  I love reading and feeling the creative process of the writer.  I enjoy contemplating interpretation- how small changes in presentation and how collaging and mish-mashing can alter meaning and message and how written language and visual language play similarly.


I love the DETAILS.  I love how language dances through alignment and placement.  Take for example in the song, Take a Break from Hamilton (at 2:19):

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Aw, jeez!  This kind of DETAIL reinforces my love of the creative process!

I also perseverate on the notion of stripping away- how taking away a word or adding a word alters meaning and delivery.  Sometimes this fascination hinders my flow when reading a book!  For example,  I was sitting on the subway in Toronto last Sunday evening heading to Kipling and started reading Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace.

There on page 21, I couldn’t help but stop.

[The visitors] are like swans, drifting along on unseen feet; or else like the jellyfish in the waters of the rocky harbour near our house…

The use of the word “like” sidetracked me and I gleefully went on an a tangents, playing with removing it and adding it back.

They are like swans…  


They are swans, drifting along on unseen feet; or the jellyfish in the waters of the rocky harbour near our house…

Oh that is fun.  The delivery is so different.  And alters the intent.

They are like jellyfish.  They are jellyfish.



I am thinking about the young man in Toronto who entertained us (last week at the hotel bar) with a brilliance that shone through despite his alcohol haze.  With remarkable passion, he recited lengthy pieces of Shakespeare and, intriguingly, found himself repeatedly stuck on the meaning and delivery of … but soft… in Romeo and Juliet.

But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.

He testified that Romeo is in a sense “stalking” Juliet and that spying on her could be played more creepy.  He argued (convincingly) that Romeo’s sentence that starts with but soft is actually a line that starts MID SENTENCE- that Romeo simply starts speaking at mid sentence.  It is quite a lovely argument and does affect how the scene can be played.

Oooo, I kind of love it!

Caress the detail, the divine detail. – Vladimir Nabokov


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