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OSHAR-00000076-001-FBBaobab-Tree-on.jpg full moon image by EcoWitch

Last night, the full moon appeared like a flamboyant floodlight. It seemed to echo, "Is anyone alive down there...down there...down there? It is I, floodlight moon." It appeared close but was actually 238,857 miles away! Our eyes can play tricks on us.

Even so, they are rich visual collectors. Two blue, brown, hazel or green mini artists, taking in life portraits, freeze framing them into memory the way paint adheres to canvas. A scoop of bangs across a pale forehead, inky black like a raven's wing, dead leaves twirling on bare, sun drenched branches or snow swelled on the ground like thick, whirled whipped cream.

I remember seeing my newborn daughter's eyes for the first time. Like soul windows, new yet ancient and full of penetrating light. Whey they lay each in my arms, of course in different years, those haunting eyes explored mine, speaking without sound. Why hello, dear mama, they seemed to say. I've felt your heartbeat and heard your cries and laughter a thousand times. Here you are now. I see you. They knew me and I them. Any mother can tell you how poignant this is. That lavish communication without words. I promise not to mention babies anymore but I do love them.

Eyes alone speak of pain, sadness, joy, confusion, wildness and sometimes evil, all without sound.

If we have been blessed with vision intact, our brain does the work of preserving previous sights into memory. I can still see the metallic shimmer of dollar sunfish, greasing through an Arkansas River, sun catching the star burst of yellow bellies. And creamy vanilla jack-in-the-pulpits, glazing up an Illinois spring forest we wandered through as children. And red-winged black bird eggs, pale blue-green and freckled, cuddled tight in marshy nests.

It's exciting to use this visionary sense in our writing. Here's an example from my WIP novel, The Passion Diary.

Driving through Millview, men with wilted faces sat outside Hunters Gas Mart. On splintered, wooden benches some whispered and whittled while others stood, eclipsed by smoke clouds wafting from lit points of cigarettes. The locals referred to this spot as Limber Dick Corner. God help me, I didn't want to grow old.

Turning down Main Street, earth rose behind ancient buildings, disguised in fresh paint. Brambly blackberry vines clamored up a long row of fence, berries dangling and not yet flushed purple. Trees, heavy with green foliage, clung to hillsides and I wondered what was blending and dashing through not visible to the naked eye.

This is pure visual description and why I wanted to use it as an example. I could add the sense of smell-the soil, cigarette smoke, etc... I could also throw in taste-the eventual ripened berries, but I probably won't for these paragraphs. Hopefully, if I've done my job well, sight alone tells us this is a small town with old secrets.

So, fellow writers, please savor every visual treat this week. And remember, seeing is believing...sometimes.


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Comment by Dorraine Darden on March 6, 2010 at 1:08am
sounds like you're cooking up a good story to me, Donna. Write away!
Comment by Donna Stumpo on March 5, 2010 at 9:41pm
i love old towns, with cracked pavements, 200 year old stone houses, their creamy white paint a little threadbare against the gray. And everywhere, hydrangeas overgrown, their antiqued pink blue confections keeping watch...
Comment by Dorraine Darden on March 5, 2010 at 1:57pm
Appreciate you reading, Stephen. Thanks much.
Comment by stephen dijoseph on March 5, 2010 at 10:35am
your writing fills the sense for sure Dorraine....great stuff! A pleasure to have you bloging here...
Comment by Dorraine Darden on March 2, 2010 at 6:06pm
Trees, yes they have their secrets. Walking under a 200 year-old live oak draped with Spanish moss can surely make me stop to listen. It was nice of you to stop by, Jodie! Thanks.
Comment by Jodie Ann Christiansen on March 2, 2010 at 4:34pm
Dorraine....PS: wowzie wowzie....that pic/photo perfectly correlates love it.....in fact, to me, all trees have mystery and untold tales.....consider what tree huggers may nhave heard!!!
Comment by Jodie Ann Christiansen on March 2, 2010 at 4:31pm
dorraine.....so much....colors, lights, sounds, sensations etc etc etc....this was atreat to be re-read.....sincerely, Jodie
Comment by Dorraine Darden on March 1, 2010 at 7:16pm
Oh, Lisa. You know how to make me smile. Thanks for that. I needed it today!
Comment by wiffledust on March 1, 2010 at 6:07pm
oh wow, i LOVE THIS dorraine! thanks for this extra special "view" and for the glimpse into your novel. you make me want to get writing. and if you know me, you'll know that means i think you're pretty darned inspiring!

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