Sunday, October 16, 2011

Kaleidoscope of Words

When you are describing,
A shape, or sound, or tint;
Don't state the matter plainly,
But put it in a hint;
And learn to look at all things,
With a sort of mental squint. --Lewis Carroll

Did you know that all the beauty in a kaleidoscope is made up of just three simple elements? The elements are colored glass, mirrors, and light. Sir David Brewster invented the kaleidoscope way back in 1815, and coined its name from the Greek words for beauty, form, and 'tool for examination.' Hence, the word means "observer of beautiful forms."

Writing, too, is made up of simple elements, the most basic of all of course being words. But it's how we put words together, shake them up, and bring them to light that makes a story. We mix the colors of character and dialogue, the mirror images of patterns and insights, and the light of voice to make it happen. Are we up to it?

Sometimes, like Lewis Carroll says, the effort takes a bit of a mental squint. Sort of like looking through a kaleidoscope, I guess.

But observe, we do--and listen, and take notes, and plot, and describe, and connect-the-dots, and play with words. All to make a better story and, hopefully, in a more beautiful form than not.

What about you--are you looking through a kaleidoscope of words this week?

*photo courtesy of Microsoft Office clipart


  1. I am! That's a cool way to look at it.

    I found you, by the way, via WritingNut's blog. :)

  2. Oh this is beautiful! I will look at writing in a fresh new way today, I hope I am doing what I need to do--still have a long way to do but loving it!

  3. I love the picture. I am trying something new this week. Keep your fingers crossed for me, Kenda.

  4. Hi!

    Dawn--So good to meet you. Thanks for dropping in, and for the follow :-)

    Terri--Thanks for your comment, and I pray you keep on "loving it." That way, our progress can only get better, don't you think?

    And Rachna--whatever your "something new" is this week, we're cheering for you. Looking forward to hearing what that something is :-) Good luck!

  5. I am learning, the deeper I get into my story (as in, the more revision passes), to see the imagery and create the subtext that wasn't apparent to me originally. It's making the story richer.

    Wonderful post!

  6. This is wonderful! I love the imagery and the picture you shared. I need to ponder this. :)

  7. Kenda, I love when your posts make me see writing in a whole new creative way. Like now, for instance :) And I love kaleidoscopes, so this is an especially fun post for me!

  8. I love that Lewis Carroll quote and how you expanded upon it. Such a lovely post.

  9. I love the way you put this! And a great Lewis Carroll quote :)

  10. A lovely post, Kenda. Just looking at that picture wakes up my mind.

  11. Don't know how I missed this post - what a gorgeous picture and a super metaphor for the writer's mind! I guess we're all writers because we love words and all the ways we can put them together. Isn't it funny how words can give us a whole new viewpoint with just a little twist!