We all need motivation to live on. Our encounter with beautiful things gives it to us.
Remember, let’s say, all the beautiful sentiments a wise person has inspired in you, that sweet smile of a whilom ancestor which forever haunts your memories, the grateful look in the eyes of a creature for your benevolence, your attachment to a beautiful spot outside the city, your fondness of the sweet aroma of good coffee… the gratifying interior odour of a new car… or the invigorating petrichor after the sweet patter of rain, or the autumn scent released from the earth-met butter gold… or the strewn mane of a galloping horse on this aromatic matt of autumn… Time freezes and your whole being gravitates towards such loveliness.
Has it ever occurred to you we live to capture such moments -like a camera which we are not? Beauty inspires us and unfurls a smile; that’s all. Cameras don’t ‘flash’ a smile. It is the inspired man who ‘flashes’ a smile after all.
What literature does is to encrypt such remarkable moments in linguistic novelty. Such novelty that filters life into a new brightness and breath without which the real world could get darker and a bit stifling.
Hence the timeless poems, stories and novels. Hence the gods and goddesses we create. Literary work has such linguistic charm we cannot help getting inspired. If the thunderous gallop of those horses emanates into the beat of your racing heart or mutes out the rest of the whole world for you, then you most probably are upon such linguistic finesse...
Beauty glorifies our time on this planet. Show me a man, or even a husband, who can’t help stealing a furtive glance at a beautiful book walking him past in the street. (Pardon my linguistic slip, I guess books and women should not shift places in a man’s regard, or else I can’t imagine what bookstores or libraries might turn out to be then. Before scoffing off the awkward pun, though, ask it to yourself again if wives, too, would be able to keep their eyes straight at such an encounter? We need fascination. We steal a furtive glance at a smart stranger to lock up their looks in our memory just as we steal wild beasts from their happy habitat to pen them up in sad solitude for our own fascination. We need beauty so desperately as to ‘steal’ as it seems. Alright, off these inconvenient moral transgressions with our kindred busy at work…
Things that draw our fancy dwell in a greater plane than the well-proportioned frame of any **** sapiens. Redolent with biblichor, the world of literature offers you an aromatic ride to faraway faculties of the brain, undiscovered sentiments or unsung anthems of life perhaps lost in oblivion right under our nose.
Watch out for bookstores and libraries! And if you can, stay away from the zoo!
Such sweet biblichor also wafts from the seamier side of life, be it death, deceit or depravity... A very long list indeed inhabits the harder half of life, yet how wonder wafts through words, nevertheless! How words shake off all **** from the worse half and sprinkle star dust into its dark recesses and bring knowledge in brightness!
Linguistic finesse and idiosyncrasy are the aromatic essence that any brew about an important aspect of life must contain, or else the brew is dull as dishwater long down the drain.
To illustrate this better, I must go back to that awkward encounter in the street. Alas, a greater majority of us would notice those curves and curls, say in biceps, ***** or hair that bobs, while the unimposing greater portion of life is blurred into oblivion. Though literature may make use of the brighter side of the coin, what it as often does is to scrape off the **** on the seamier side, polish it bright enough to take notice. Only then do we grow an interest to read about the flip side of life, as well.
Fascination and learning keep good company.
You may not show much interest if someone just writes about the grime on an Afghan girl’s face. Yet, literature is that angle which captured the untold, homespun tale in the green glint of the Afghan Girl’s eye.
Also note that it is the soot on her face which accentuates the striking meaning in her eyes, not some dark designer mascara!
Words may whisper in your ears a beguiling salute in the westerly adieu of the sun.
Or, remember the ‘The Woman in Red’ scene in the mental movie Matrix. Remember Neo’s foible towards the woman in an exposing red blouse walking him past in a colourless crowd. And remember Morpheus’s wise warning about what is not real.
Literature makes use of our foible to the fanciful. It makes use of the scintillating power of words and cajules us into a richer awareness of life. With literature, you embrace life in both lustre and soot, not just fix your gaze on a strutting stranger in a fancy cover.
Words keep the beguiling bleat of the Afghan Urial alive on the grassy slopes of Musakhel safe from a sloppy, dead corner in a zoo.
You think you know about hunger until a writer depicts it, or you may think you have had you fill of the same old stale coffee until someone brews it anew with their linguistic star dust and it smells sweet again.
Literature keeps everything about life fresh.
The story line, however, is but the cup that contains the Ambrosia.
Do you read to live forever young?
With deepless gratitude to all fine writers for many a magic ride on the thunderous gallop of words they have been able to offer us. I would appreciate one recommended ride in the comments, mine being the short story 'Scarlet Ibis' by James Hurst.