Not Just Nouns Anymore
While reading The Linchpin Writer by John Matthew Fox, I came across this interesting sentence:
“You should use your descriptions to do one of two things: to either defamiliarize the familiar, or to familiarize the unfamiliar. “
The form of that sentence, with its contradictions, reminded me of “find the despair in hope, and the hope in despair,” and got me wondering if perhaps I had found the next path in my abstractions study.
Just plugging in my abstract nouns, however, did not inspire: Description should do one of two things: to either despair the hope, or to hope the despair. Nope. That doesn’t say much to me. Upon closer look, the new formula isn’t directly using abstract nouns. Yes, it’s talking about contradictory abstractions, but with verbs and adjectives. I thought, for today, it would be fun to play around with the idea of turning my Big Five contradictory abstract nouns into verbs and adjectives and fit them into my new formula to see how that might affect how I think of them visually, and poetically.
Truth / Deceit
What are my adjectives for truth and deceit? Honest, and deceitful are my adjectives, or truthful, and deceitful, or true and untrue. To deceive is a verb but to truth? Maybe reveal as the verb, or profess, it’s hard to think of a verb for truth. I played around with the thesaurus and found verbs that have to do with truth tend to uncover lies like: confess, reveal, unveil, etc. For this exercise, I like unveil. Let’s see what we’ve got now.
Description should do one of two things: to either deceive the truth, or to unveil the deceit. I think I like that.
Beauty / Ugliness
The adjectives are pretty easy: beautiful and ugly, The verbs? Beautify, and what? Uglify? I don’t think so. Oh, but I’m wrong: uglify is a word. That was easy. What do we get?
Description should do one of two things: either uglify the beautiful, or beautify the ugly.
I like that too. I think that works for more than description, but for story as well. It also describes art, don’t you think? Or maybe for art it’s the and, not or. Art should do both: uglify the beautiful, and beautify the ugly.
Happiness / Misery
The adjectives: happy and miserable. The verbs? A bit more challenging. After playing in the thesaurus I landed on “delight” and “dismay.”
Description should do one of two things: either dismay the happy, or delight the miserable.
I think that really gets at an interesting concept, I wonder about sometimes. Why do people go to sad movies. When I’m happy, I don’t want to be dismayed, especially by my entertainment. Why do people like Shakespeare, or the opera, dramas of any sort. I think it’s to evoke emotion, strong emotion is a catharsis for people when they feeling flat, in a rut, unemotional. They need to feel these emotions to feel alive.
Love / Apathy
The adjectives: lovely, apathetic? Lovely is more like beauty, no. I think love calls for a different adjective, but what? Passionate, compassionate? Love is definitely the verb, but what about for apathy? That’s a little tricky. I think to bore is the closest I found.
Description should do one of two things: to either bore the passionate, or to love the apathetic.
I like the first part a lot. Why would something have the purpose of boring the passionate? The second part isn’t as intriguing. Maybe to love the uncaring . . .
But to love the apathetic sounds like defeat without any reason, but maybe that’s facing a truth.
Wisdom / Naivete
The adjectives are wise and naive. What the verbs? To know, to learn, to contemplate, to weigh, to judge. And naive? To fool, to forget, to blank, to clear,
Description should do one of two things: either clear the wise, or know the naive.
Description should do one of two things: either fool the wise, or judge the foolish.
Description should do one of two things: either fool the wise, or wisen the foolish.
I think that last one works.
Good / Bad
This week, inspired by the song “I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good),” I’m looking at the bad in the good, and the good in the bad. How would this new idea expand on that? The adjectives? To get from good to better, one must improve. And from bad to worse, one worsens. So we’ve got: Description should do one of two things: either worsen the good, or improve the bad.That’s a strange statement. Is that what my photographs should do? Is that what today’s poem should do? Lots to think about.
That was a fun exercise. However, I try to avoid “should” so I think I’ll change the phrase to only the ending and make it declarative: Worsen the good, or improve the bad. If I combine that with my original contradictory noun phrase I get: Find the good in the bad, and the bad in the good, then worsen the good, or improve the bad. Or it could be: To find the good in the bad, and the bad in the good, worsen the good, or improve the bad.
Though it sounds like nonsensical gobbledygook, but after some thought, it makes sense. It’s got me thinking, so I like it.
Lets see what the combined sentences would look like for my Big Five:
- To find the truth in deceit and the deceit in truth; either deceive the truth, or unveil the deceit.
- To find the ugliness in beauty and the beauty in ugliness; uglify the beautiful, or beautify the ugly.
- To find the happiness in misery and the misery in happiness; dismay the happy, or delight the miserable.
- To find the love in apathy and the apathy in love; bore the passionate, or love the uncaring.
- To find the naivete in wisdom and the wisdom in naivete; fool the wise, or wisen the foolish.
Looks like I’ve created my call to action for the next five weeks.