There was this Dodo. It Went That Way--->

I'm not sure I could ever be perky as either Lorelai or Rory Gilmore, even though I adore them to bits. I realize this morning (as I was waking up, so possibly fear) I'm more of a Lane Kim. I am totally cool with that.

As a little girl I was truly, madly, deeply in love with sugar. I even remember one occasion when three of my cousins and I stayed up till after all the adults had crashed, then all four of us snuck down to the kitchen and had ourselves a brown sugar extravaganza. I was probably around six or seven. Just imagine it, dozens of miniature Barbie teacups and containers, carefully packed with a very tanned version of sugarcane, and spirited away to be consumed amongst shushed giggles.

I also didn't consider something "dessert" unless it had 80 percent of its calories from something over-refined and under-recommended. People tried to tell me fruit and nuts were sweet, but I was pretty sure those people were herbally influenced, and therefore didn't know what they were talking about.

It's still true as an official grown-up I'm the the junk food junkie/sugar-toothed one between my husband and myself. It's one of the ways I know I'm actually thirty, not 20, like the mirror might have me believe. But, I've learned the subtlety of sweetness. I can put one of the hard-won pecans* from the tree in our back yard and distinguish all the flavors, including sweet, as my tongue runs through them.

I have also learned (though in no way mastered) the sweetness of subtlety. See what I did there, with the word swapping? I'm realizing presentation is at least half of what makes a good story worth hearing. It's not enough just to take all your nifty facts and figures out there, with a neon sign blinking, "This is a PLOT POINT! Revel in the genius/tragedy/sneakiness of it!" It's not enough to know your story, or novel, or whatever. You have to know it well enough to know just how to tell it. Or sell it, as the case may be.

It's a fine line, one I need a lot more practice at. My writing is a lot like my cooking, I think; anybody'll tell you the food I put in front of them is usually pretty nom-worthy (I have a tendency to ignore or eye ball measurements, so sometimes my experiments fail, another way my writing and cooking are alike), but there's been some Devine intervention involved if the food doesn't look like something that came out the waste end of a nuclear reactor. Hey, I'm keeping it real here, people.

So, kiddos, question for today: Where do you consider the line between subtlety and confusion to lie (lay? Hey, Authoress, gimme a hand here)?

*If you need some pecans for a pie or something, come on over. Our tree went insane this year and they're really good.


Anonymous said...

When you stop realizing what you were trying to be subtle about, or when that goal changes in some way.

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