I’m about to spend way too many words talking about a door.
I was reading a novel and came across a description that struck me. It was the simplest thing, the kind I feel like would normally be glossed over, but for some reason I started to mull it over. It was in a fantasy novel that described the door to a house as a “heavy wooden door.”
Wierd, because that’s probably as normal and to the point as it gets. But for some reason the description of the door being heavy struck me, because I couldn’t imagine it. When I thought of it as a wooden door, and then added the idea of it being heavy the image in my head stayed the same. It started to get me to think, particularly since I’ve used that same description too, about the context of objects and the environment they are in.
I didn’t imagine the door differently because the house had already been established and I had already created an image of the door in my head. So when heavy was added into the mix it didn’t really change my idea of the door. Maybe if it had been wide or tall the image might have changed, but heavy came across as too vague and general to change what was already established in my mind as the house's door.
But, if the environment had been a fortress, then a heavy door would have conjured something large and meant to keep out intruders. In that case it would be the environment that helped shape the image in my mind.
That’s why I started thinking about context and the environment objects are set in. Chances are I’d imagine a couch differently if it was in a living room versus a study, even if the couches descriptions were the same. In both these cases it’s the environment and setting that helps to fill in the little details, and sometimes trying to add more specific descriptors can muddle the image.
It’s just something I started to mull over out of the blue, but now I’m going to keep it in mind to see how/if it changes the way I describe certain things.