I haven't read Zafon's novel but, after Sharon's introduction to it on Wednesday, it's been added to my (impossible) TBR pile.
What caught my attention is the first bit "an intimate ritual." Call me dense, but the rest lost me somewhere--the muddled metaphor of mirrors offering glimpses of our insides. But it sounds romantic (if you don't think about it too hard. I mean, I've never glimpsed my pancreas in a mirror, nor do I care to.) Full points to Zafon!
Reading is not a natural act. Meaning, if we left our toddler to his own devices he would learn to "read" images and symbols, but not many words. The act of reading a word, then translating it into an image that represents a symbol of an action is complex and, in some sense, unnatural. A look at literacy rates in North America can only confirm how difficult of an act reading is to learn, practice, and master.
Reading takes thousands of hours of rehearsal. Thousands of hours spent alone (minus the time spent listening to the Library Lady, a good teacher, or loving parent) engaging in the triple of act of recognizing word symbols, comprehending them, and translating them into meaning/action, and doing this very rapidly.
Is it any wonder that writers understand every moment a reader spends with their work as a sort of sacred time? A passing of one's soul through the other's. Writers move into the intimate ritual of aloneness as a ghost beside the reader while the pages turn. We want to participate fully in a feast of words we are not invited to. The feast enjoyed by the solitary reader.
What's the first thing I think of when I contemplate this feast? Of entering into the "intimate ritual" of a reader?
I take it as a personal responsibility to the reader to fully engage her process of mastering reading by offering rich, textured words that evoke sensation, complex symbology, and atmosphere. The weapon of choice?
Ah, you thought I was going to say verbs, didn't you? Smart you. Of course verbs! They smear movement all over the page. Vital.
But let's pause to praise the nuanced noun.
Nouns that are specific as well as apt have a powerful effect on the readers senses, every bit as meaningful as vigorous verbs.
Here's your assignment. Take a look at the four nouns listed below. Give them meaning, punch, and impact by offering an alternative noun that is specific, and apt. We're not looking for phrases here, just a single word.
I've offered an example noun for each--but you will be far more glorious in your reach.
Post your answers in the comment section. Be enlightening, be apt, be entertaining, and keep in mind the intimate ritual we desire to participate in as the provider of the feast of words.