Well of inspiration

Today, on day 12 of the writing challenge, I'm pulling up an empty bucket. So it's time to go fishing in the well o' inspiration. 

(That is, the notepad in my phone where I record stuff I like). 

Image result for old well`better visual effect with the well, though.

well, well, well...                             today's quote, from Coleson Whitehead's The Underground :

"...he was so liberal with flattery

 that he was obviously a young man 

 open to the sweet mysteries of fate."*

*Since I happened to be listening to an audiobook in this case, I hope I got all the words right. 

Why is this quote here? Because I like it. And, briefly, I'll tell you why.

  1. the use of the word "liberal" to define how "he" handles "flattery"
  2. the attitude of the word "obviously"
  3. the final phrase "open to the sweet mysteries of fate" 

Note that I'm not delving into any backstory of character or theme today at large -- this is very much a surface investigation. 

1. When I think of someone doing something 'liberally,' I think of applying grease or of passing out candy. But the interesting thing about this phrase is that he is not, in fact, doing something 'liberally;' he is liberal in his flattery. He happens to be flattering freewomen, a quite liberated -- excuse me, liberal -- class indeed. 

Related image`someone had a free hand in decorating

2. Backhanded narrators are the best. Although the story is told from a 3rd person point of view, as is the above quote, our protagonist is a woman named Cora. She is a person of no uncertain opinions. Therefore, although we have a reliable, 'removed' narrator, the use of the word "obviously" gives us as the reader a little urging to consider this man's liberal flattery as though from Cora's perspective. We'll hear what she has to say about it soon enough anyway. 

Image result for cora underground railroad

`credit to the BBC

3. "open to the sweet mysteries of fate." ahhhh. Isn't that a delightful phrase? Phonetically, warbling back and forth from light 'oh's to 'eh's to 'ih's and finally into a realization and resolution of an "ah - eh" (or "ae" in "fate"). Conceptually it's fae-like and gentle, yet it ends with a tongue-in-cheek jibe. The gentleman in question is not just passively waiting for fate to deliver up pretty women. With his liberal flattery, he is laying bait left and right to secure his sweet reward. Open, indeed. Subject to fate, not so much. 

In this short phrase, we see the summation of a point: 

fate becomes sweeter when it's taken into one's own hand.


More points about language, or else something completely different maybe, tomorrow.