Thursday, November 21, 2019

What's Lurking Under Your Words?

By Cheryl Oreglia

Sitting on the back deck of our weekend house on the shores of Clearlake I'm mesmerized by the subtle motion of the water rhythmically lapping against the pale beach. The motion of the water has formed ribs in the sand that span out from the rock wall to the waters edge. Our cabin, situated on the eastern side of the lake, in the narrows, sometimes referred to as the neck, because the passage is deeper than it is wide, this is my refuge.

The water line shifts depending on the season, this late in November, without a drop of rain, our beach is about as expansive as I've ever seen it. If you were to wade out into the water at this time of year you would be surprised by the steep drop off, not more than two feet out, this unexpected edge plunges forty feet into the a dark abyss, the swiftness of the cool current sends endless wavelets towards the rabbit ears, or the southern tips of the lake.

Swaddled in a soft throw, cup of warm coffee warming my hands, I shift through my thoughts for topics worthy of posting. The gentle waves seem to harness my attention, and I wonder of the energy that ripples just beneath the water, powerful enough to rib our beach, creating all this chaos, and movement. It made me think of how we tell a story, not only the patterns we use, but the motion of our words rippling just beneath the pages so to speak, drifting on clusters of organized thought.

I tend to rely on patterns of speech, tossed with a bit of humor (I realize this is a matter of opinion), utilizing (exploiting) metaphoric ripples for for the intended effect. I'm one who avoids tension at all costs so it is with forced intention that conflict works its way into one of my pieces. I'm more of a small wave writer, dependent on the reader to ride the motion of my narratives, as if on a raft gone astray.

I could go on but I think you get my tributary of thought.

My point might be overdone but I think the reader thrives on embedded themes in writing, or oppositional motifs such as dark and light, wet and dry, which stirs me right towards a dry martini, capturing both motifs without the help of 007.

A story is felt not only through the use of efficacious words but in ones mouth with the assistance of memories of taste, sensations recalled, emotions unleashed. I've heard this referred to as a form of embodied cognition. Just writing about the child who stuffed a slice of fresh lemon sprinkled with sugar into his mouth and winces as sour and sweetness assault his tastebuds. You might notice your own mouth watering.

Some of my favorite stories contain these brilliant themes so deeply embedded in the narrative that I remain unaware until the last page and my eyes land on that final sentence that anchors the entire tale. I'm thinking Grapes of Wrath, Gone With the Wind, Little Women, Wuthering Heights, War and Peace to name a few.

Sometime there is no dramatic arc, the story simply advances, and then partially resolves, through a rippling of nuances and subtle undercurrents!

What's lurking under your words?

I'm Living in the Gap when I'm not writing for Across the Board, drop-ins welcome.

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