Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The musical ear v. the deformations of flattery

My late mother-in-law's gift for euphemism was so advanced, it was possible to relish the most sardonic cut and the soothingest substitution of subject in one of her remarks, as facets of a single polished thought. This can be explosive, when maturity's perspective intersects with youth's plentiful dilemmas. One could certainly have lived with that woman, but for matrimony's fatal weakness for the wrong generation. Still, as I stumble about life's redundant desert to this day, I ponder the compliment she paid me once, of having a musical ear. I think she was referring to an innocent susceptibility in my accent, to the tone prevailing in my last place of sleep (I was frequently in California, while she was in darkest New York); but I don't rule out, she was praising my hypocrisy in plain sight.

People who hasard the publication of writing ought strenuously to ignore their readers' assessments, at least where venturing into remote demographics. If they have a musical ear, they risk quickly being drawn and quartered. I have readers who want fewer pictures; I have readers who want fewer words. I have readers who want fewer syllables - and these are the readers who survived the previous waves of emigration from the page; but now, for some imponderable half-life of a newly discovered element, I have readers from Canada, who do this stuff very well in a freer format. Naughty Robbie Rosses, if you will, natural rhetoricians of the wordless throat, spelling doom in one's seduction by their eloquence -- who call for less of everything. I like my hypocrisy to be accused, not shown.

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