See Through My Eyes
I was asked recently where I got my ability to desribe things so vividly. I was touched by this person asking because I always want my writing to be so clean and clear that people Do see with their mind exactly what I see. I don't want them to be just words that fill a page. When a writer puts his thoughts and feelings down on paper, sometimes, that is all they are. Just words but the image is lost for one reason or another. It is so very important that the reader feel and see, in their minds, the most vivid picture of what is being read.
I thought about the question that was presented to me. I was on our front porch, smoking a cig of course when I began to really search my memory of when I started to see the world so vividly. I had to go back a long way to really find at least part of where the "gift" of vivid writing came from. My surrounding, from the front porch, was perfect for the subject I was thinking of. The rain was coming down and blowing across the yard. Winter is here and with it comes a chill in the air. I weas wearing only a hoodie for cover and the damp cold blew up under the back making me shiver a little. Fog was moving into our little town and I watched as the houses began to slowly disappear in to the fog. Looking like white sheet being fluffed over a mattress, the fog swallowed everything it touched.
I thought about the scene that was unfolding before me. I thought about being 7 years old and my brother Dan, eight years old. Dan was blind off and on throughout our childhood. Times he could see more than others but mostly, he didn't see well. We played a lot together and my shoulder became a place for his hand to hold to as we raced around the house. Sometimes, we went too fast around a corner and well, he would crash in to the side of the house. Shaking it off, he grabbed my shoulder and off we went again. When there was something interesting to see, like the jet stream left in the sky by a passing plane, I would tell him in detail what it looked like. description became comparing. Things that Dan had seen when he could see were used to tell him how something appeared. Green was green and red was red but I found it wasn't enough to simply say the color. I wanted him to feel it inside. I wanted him to know that the red rose was not just red. It was the red of "crunch berry" from Captain Crunch. Green was no longer just green. It became the green that was color of a lime. The need to describe grow inside of me. Dan was satisfied with color being color but for the years he held my shoulder and I guided him over hills and up in to trees, what I saw had to be brilliant and more than just a color.
I stood on the porch, the rain wetting the side of my face a bit, and looked out at the street. The fog had swallowed up most of the houses but I noticed that the lights on the street still shined through. There yellow aura surrounding the street light made it appear to look like an angel, halo glowing, standing in the midst of the fog. The round circle, each ray seeming to have it's own space, reached out like a sun beam. The porch lights that were lit broke through the dense fog, illuminating only the porch. Like sentry guards, standing watch over the people inside, the light branched out in a triangular shape, pushing through the fog.
The street lights again caught my eye. I followed their glow to the street. I could see the rain hitting the street, bouncing off the surface, the light catching their reflection. They looked like check marks being made on a huge piece of paper. I wondered if this was how I would have described what I was seeing to Dan. The world around us had so many beautiful things to describe. Again, Dan was content with a more simple description and I... I wanted the world to come alive in living color for me. And it did. Every-time I saw something, a rock, a tree, an animal, it was so much more. The tiny claws on a horned toad and the almost invisible lines on a palm branch all were alive for me.
The fog remained thick and when I stepped off the porch, I felt it. Tiny beads of water peppered my face. The fog was damp and cool and it was like walking through a smoke filled bar, minus the nicotine. The world wasn't created in black and white. It was made from colors that are alive and they make our world so beautiful. I want to share that magnificent brilliance with the world and I want the world to feel every word I write. See the yellow glow of the street lights and the blue raindrops that sparkle like a glass chandelier. In what can be an ugly place to be, the world is only as black and white as you allow it to be.
Years later, at the loving gift of caring for my wife who was ill for a very long time, I also learned to describe love in a way that most have never felt nor held. She taught me so much about what it truly means to feel love. She showed me how to transfer that pureness on to my screen. When next you look at the ocean or the forest, imagine they are not water nor trees. Imagine they are just color and see how bright and alive those colors become. Seeing is just seeing what your eyes show you. Description comes from deep within and opens windows in to heaven and beyond.