Do You Have Discerning Eyes?

an unhidden letter

an unhidden letter

I’m not a huge fan of American author Edgar Allan Poe’s works, but his short story, “The Purloined Letter,” has always been a favorite of mine.

I like the “The Purloined Letter” tale, because of one of its themes: much can be hidden within the obvious.

Often we can look past things that lie, like the purloined letter that Poe wrote about, right in front of us, within our plain sight.  As Kubrick may have said, so many of us find ourselves walking through life with “eyes wide shut.”

Poe’s “The Purloined Letter” reminds us to look beyond the surface of our realities and to reexamine our perspectives and ourselves.

That reminder still resonates and is being perpetuated by authors today.  For example, American actress Drew Barrymore’s new book of personal photographs, “Find it in Everything,” reveals how she was able to find heart-shaped objects and patterns hidden within unexpected places and reminds us to look beyond the obvious to find beautiful, previously-hidden things.

Have you ever found something hidden “right before your very eyes” like Poe’s purloined letter?   Maybe a better question is: are you looking?

Besides Poe, Kubrick and Barrymore, another lad named Shakespeare also warned: “Our very eyes are sometimes like our judgements, blind.”

To end this post, I won’t be nosy and ask, “Who are you seeing these days?”  Rather, I’ll ask,   “What are you seeing these days?”

Peanut butter, poetry and sticky things

What do you think of when you hear the word, “sticky”?  “Sticky fingers,” or “sticky notes”?  Peanut butter?  Maple syrup?  Elmer’s glue?

According to, in economics, “sticky” describes a situation in which a variable is resistant to change.

Yes, there are sticky situations in the world of economics and in life in general.  And, what about sticky words?  One direct quotation that has stuck with me over the years was uttered by Pearl Strachan who famously said, “Handle them carefully, for words have more power than atom bombs.”

How many striking music lyrics do we often recall?  How many lines of a poem?  How many words from a play or a movie have stuck with us over the years?  And, when do these sticky words, stated or written by others, evidence themselves in our lives?  How many of our statements are 100% original, not having withstood the influence of someone else’s sticky words of wisdom?

Without doubt, the words of our parents, of our teachers, of our favorite writers, of our favorite friends, of our favorite loves, often seem to tarry.

Shakespeare is one of the best examples of someone whose words have tarried on and on.  In his Sonnet 116, which is a favorite of mine, he wrote about the stickiness of true love stating:

Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds, 
Or bends with the remover to remove: 
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark 
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;”

Shakespeare wrote the words in 1609, and, in 1995, British actress Emma Thompson brilliantly incorporated the sonnet into the Sense and Sensibility movie screenplay that was adapted from the 1811 novel of the same name.  Who could forget this scene from the movie directed by Ang Lee?

What are the most sticky words you’ve ever uttered or written?  And who was listening?

%d bloggers like this: