Learning to Describe Things

by Peter

I just finished reading The Last Battle to Joey.  We loved it.  I cried; he warbled jovially and begged for more.  Actually, the response he gave to my reading that struck me most wasn’t vocal at all.  My hand was resting on the bed where he was sitting when we finished.  He put both his hands below mine, lowered his cheek onto it, and smiled so that I felt it.  It lasted only a moment, and was, I’m sure, completely un-premeditated – as graceful and un-self-conscious a movement as I’ve ever seen, springing simply from the need to share his feelings.  It was beautiful; a pure moment of clarity in relationship.

After we finished celebrating together, we got to talking about it.  We decided that we both needed to practice describing things better, so that we could tell stories well when we were older.  Lewis was inspiring us to work hard toward the perfection of the art of the use of language.

So we sat down in front of the Christmas tree, and I pulled out my laptop and asked Joey to try describing it to me.

This was his first attempt:

“The tree is great, beautiful, and has the look of a perfect tree.”

Attempt.

I asked him to close his eyes, and try to forget about our Christmas tree.  Then I read his sentence back to him and asked whether the image that popped into his head was like our Christmas tree.  It was not.  Without prompting, he very shortly blurted out with almost exactly what follows:

“Every branch seemed perfect.  Every ornament and every bead was hung beautifully, and the star on top was shining brightly in the light.”

The only change between what he said at first and the above is at “hung beautifully.”  It only said “beautiful” before, but after discussion, we decided that descriptor was just a little too vague.

“Every branch seemed perfect.  Every ornament and every bead was hung beautifully, and the star on top was shining brightly in the light.”

*sigh*


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