Showing and Telling

sprinklers
A Summer Prelude

More than likely, every single one of you reading this is a writer or has been a writer at some point. As such, it is likely that every single one of you has heard the advice: “show don’t tell.”

But here is my thought for today… showing is a photograph. Showing is a painting or a movie or another visual art form.

Writing, though, is for getting into the brain. In no other median can an idea or thought be represented so clearly, so absolutely. Sure, there are language barriers… the very idea of loss of meaning between writer and reader… but there is a pureness that is allowed in this form of communication that is not quite has well represented in the visual forms.

I have always loved taking photographs. There is a way that I can capture sunlight colored through a sprinkler’s rain that I cannot quite catch merely with words.

But I can tell you with my words what I was thinking when I took the photograph. I can tell you of the feeling of joy, a kind of heated pressure in my chest to see the sprinkler in the sun. I can tell you how I felt an anticipation for summer mixed with a little bit of wonder as my five-year-old ran through that freezing cold water.

I am able to describe how my contentment felt like a warm blanket of sunshine on my shoulders; and how during those moments I knelt on the wet grass, moisture seeping through the knees of my jeans, lightness permeated the air and happy floated by.

That is power, my friends.

That is beauty.

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