hi [: i'm brandy & this here page of mine holds my every emotion, aspiration, thought process, want, & fault. every aspect of my being you can find here for you to do with it whatever your little heart desires. xo.
Look - here’s a table covered with a red cloth. On it is a cage the size of a small fish aquarium. In the cage is a white rabbit with a pink nose and pink-rimmed eyes. In its front paws is a carrot-stub upon which it is contentedly munching. On its back, clearly marked in blue ink, is the numeral 8.
Do we see the same thing? We’d have to get together and compare notes to make absolutely sure, but I think we do. There will be necessary variations, of course: some receivers will see a cloth which is turkey red, some will see one that’s scarlet, while others may see still other shades.
Likewise, the matter of the cage leaves quite a lot of room for individual interpretation. For one thing, it is described in terms of rough comparison, which is useful only if you and I see the world and measure the things in it with similar eyes. It’s easy to become careless when making rough comparisons, but the alternative is a prissy attention to detail that takes all the fun out of writing. The paragraph doesn’t tell us what sort of material the cage is made of - wire mesh? steel rods? glass? - but does it really matter? We all understand the cage is a see-through medium; beyond that, we don’t care. The most interesting thing here isn’t even the carrot-munching rabbit in the cage, but the number on its back. Not a six, not a four, not nineteen-point-five. It’s an eight. This is what we’re looking at, and we all see it. I didn’t tell you. You didn’t ask me. I never opened your mouth and you never opened yours. We’re not even in the same year together, let alone the same room… except we are together. We’re close.
We’re having a meeting of the minds.
I sent you a table with a red cloth on it, a cage, a rabbit, and the number eight in blue ink. You got them all, especially the blue eight. We’ve engaged in an act of telepathy. No mythy-mountian shit; real telepathy."
How best, then, to describe literature? At its basic level, it is a collection of unique combinations of twenty-six small black marks on a white surface - ‘letters’, in other words, since the word ‘literature’ means things made of letters. Those combinations are more magical than anything a conjuror can pull out of his top hat. Yet a better answer would be that literature is the human mind at the very height of its ability to express and interpret the world around us. Literature, at its best, does not simplify, but it enlarges our minds and sensibilities to the point where we can better handle complexity."