Simple Words

“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.”
― Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums (1958)dharma bums.jpg

 

From Barnes & Noble page “Published just one year after On the Road, (Dharma Bums) is the story of two men engaged in a passionate search for Dharma or truth.

Their major adventure is the pursuit of the Zen Way, which takes them climbing into the High Sierras to seek the lesson of solitude.” (It’s suggested that one read On the Road first for proper context to this novel which could be considered Part 2 of the first one.)Kerouac.jpg

If you haven’t yet read either of his novels, you may have studied Jack Kerouac’s influence on modern literature, as well as his documented pursuit of spiritual clarity for himself and for others.

For those who wish to glean techniques from other writer’s talents, assessing Kerouac’s rawness and meaning refinement throughKer quote 2 (2) simple-living description is a solid path for a writer’s own self-discovery and inner-world exploration.

It follows the most important writer’s dictum: Keep it simple, clear and concise.

Using Kerouac’s poetic example in The Dharma Bums, his theory on “good writing” is being as artistically precise as a Japanese Haiku.

Because both books were written at the rise of the Beat generation that preceded the Flower Child (Hippy) generation, there are rough attitudes expressed that might appall a sensitive reader.  But Kerouac’s vision and the handling of his subject matter are a study in distilling thought to poetically capture and convey life’s most precious moments.

“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple,” he said.

I agree. That statement is my primary creed as well.

Writing is a communication between/among two or more “readers” to share thoughts, concepts, or instructions.

Writing can convey emotions over a distance—where deepest feelings are often captured best in similes and metaphors because those appeal more to the intuitive right brain than the analytical left. That’s the value of Haiku—it bridges the brain hemispheres between word symbols and emotive imagery.basho quote

Haiku is thought essence crystallized.

As Kerouac suggested in The Dharma Bums, if you want to capture the power or beauty of a moment use a Haiku to transcend earthly limitation.

But it also requires artistic discipline to craft the proper phrase, while utilizing a writer’s higher resonance with the subject matter.

“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.”

Yes.

Advertisements

The Juxtaposition of Expectations

I was fascinated by this image—the subtlety—the softness—the ephemeral quality where the horizon is inferred yet not easily distinguished—and most of all, non pink flamingos.jpgwhere the expectation is reversed of seeing black flamingos against a pink background with a pink sun.

To me it is powerful on many levels: You have the incongruity of subject matter whose very name suggests a distinct color, you have the distinction of the silhouettes cast against the pastel backdrops, and beyond all of that, you have the mirror reflections of sky with birds crossing a suggested watery surface that gives the impression of floating above their own shadows.

My mind quipped, “It’s a juxtaposition of juxtaexpectations. Nothing here is what you expect it to be: not the sun, not the birds, not the sky or the water. You aren’t even sure where the horizon meets the sky.”

That’s what makes it so powerful.

It could be my Graphic Arts training, but when I see an image this strong and almost other-worldly it gives me pause to assess why it is so impactful.

True, there could be considerable image manipulation here through filters and color adjustments to achieve that unusual background hue, but compare the image above to a few additional images that cover the same subject matter, and then see for yourself how pastel sky waterthe photographer/artist really took the walking flamingos to a new level with his rendition of them.

flam sky.jpg

 

 

 

flockflaming in water