Ephémère – Beauty in brevity

I love this word. It is short, realistic and an absolute delight to hear in French. Every time I hear or read, this word, I think of it as a collection of short moments that form life. I admit there isn’t anything novel in this thought but cliché is cliché for a reason—they are relatable. Today, I am listing three small excerpts that are short but delightful to read:

1.

The below excerpt is slightly edited text from an eight-year-old story published in New Yorker, ‘Laugh, Kookaburra’.

“Picture a four-burner stove. This is not a real stove but a symbolic one. The ones used to prove a point at management seminars. One burner represents your family, one is your friends, the third is your health, and the fourth is your work.

In order to be successful, you have to cut off one of your burners. And in order to be really successful, you have to cut off two of them.”

This is one of the best examples of establishing characters in a short story. As implied by the name, short stories lack the real estate to develop characters leisurely. David Sedaris, the author of the story managed to establish three characters in mere four sentences by telling us which burner(s) they choose to cut. That is really creative writing.

2.

Robert Mckee, in one of his interviews, was asked for suggestions about a screenplay in which nothing happens, like in real world. This was his response:

“Nothing happens in the world? Are you out of your fucking mind? People are murdered every day. There’s genocide, war, corruption. Every fucking day somewhere in the world somebody sacrifices his life to save somebody else. Every fucking day someone somewhere takes a conscious decision to destroy someone else. People find love, people lose it. For Christ sake, a child watches her mother beaten to death on the steps of a church! Someone goes hungry, somebody else betrays his best friend for a woman. If you can’t find that stuff in life, then you, my friend, don’t know crap about life!”

A well-crafted story about a sneeze can be more impactful than a thriller about an astronaut cat, searching for dark matter, exploding in the space while time traveling to witness the big-bang. Something must happen in a story, however trivial, otherwise it is just lazy writing followed by the pain-ridden and baffled audience.

3.

“The greatest enemy of freedom is a happy slave.”

I don’t think this one needs any interpretation or I am even qualified to do it for you. It is a universal kick that will hit you effortlessly. Your head will find a way to manifest this metaphorical fist and punch you with it. Every damn time!

Take delight in clichés and indulge these ephemeral moments! 

Au revoir!