When I write about what I see, my goal is to include texture in what goes on around me. Take, for example, the grass out our front window. I could call it winter grass, dead grass, or instead, comment on the way short thatches of hay swirl out from the cement planter in the middle of the yard–or that the uneven suggestion of green emerging from below reminds me of a rough patch of whiskers on a man's unshaven face.
If an artist set up an easel beside me right now, she wouldn’t paint our yard a one-dimensional yellow; good paintings aren’t flat. She’d mix a blend of taupe and burnt umber on her pallet, feeding lighter colors to the place on the canvas where the descending hill fades to winter white. Adding brown pocks to represent the fringed pine cones scattered at the edge of the driveway, her finished painting would pulse with brush-strokes and nuance, depth and grain, shadows and the disparity of light.
An article in WritersDigest.com this week, “How to Enrich your Descriptions” reminded me of the importance of working for the strongest image. It is never right to take the things you see for granted. I know how the ocean looks; I drive by it almost every day. Waves are a common sight in my world.
How though, should I describe them to someone who has never left Kansas?
How do you challenge yourself to "see" the world around you?