My grandmother has the obnoxiously huge magazine collection. She does not realize that she is the only one who actually thinks they’re worth anything. The rest of the family thinks they just take up space. She refuses to throw any of them away. She claims that they will be worth some money some day, which is true to an extent. But when do you determine the best time to sell them if they always go up in value? That’s just it. She doesn’t sell them. They sit piled high in every room of her two-story Victorian-style home.
You see, multiplicity is like my grandmother’s magazine collection because she just keeps letting it pile up, unable to part with any of it. I see it similar to Calvino’s discussion of Gadda who couldn’t focus his work into something concise. He wrote down his knowledge because he valued it and he loved to show how much he knew, even though everyone else did not feel the same.
Calvino’s quality of visibility can be compared to a fortune teller. I have come to this conclusion based on how a fortune teller makes predictions. I prefer to take a logical approach to this practice and acknowledge that a fortune teller must be trained in this profession. They ask their client a question, then make a prediction of the future based on their response. If they get a positive reaction, they continue on in that direction. If they make a wrong prediction, they tweak it slightly until it fits the client’s needs. A fortune teller must be sensitive to emotions, a good listener, and have a good imagination.
This is like visibility in that she creates an image in her mind based on her client’s words. She then responds verbally and the client’s imagination is let lose to dream. The fortune teller is able to build on what they are given. Even in “Girls Day Out,” the e-lit example, we’re able to draw some conclusions from the information given to us. We don’t always need both audio and visual to create a scene for us like a movie.
Exactitude in writing is like a carpenter building a rocking chair. There are so many designs and types of wood. The creativity for building can be infinite. A rocking chair must be precise, however. If one leg is shorter than the others or the curvature of the base is off, the entire structure could fall apart with the weight of someone wanting to relax.
Calvino acknowledges that vagueness is commonly found in writing and that his opinions don’t reflect the entirety of the reading population. However, I’m going to agree with him here. Writing needs a strong foundation, just like the rocking chair. Vagueness can cause confusion and destroy clarity.
Quickness is like looking out the window of a speeding train. You don’t get to see the surroundings closest to you. They are nothing but blurs. Your view lacks details and in-depth description. If you focus on a distant object though, you can easily see the entire picture. Like Calvino discusses, quickness seeks to eliminate the unnecessary and focus on the crucial parts of the story.
In the E-Lit example, stories are told at their minimum. One could easily create a novel out of one story alone, but instead it is contracted into a single page. Details would only blur the purpose, therefore they are told as if they were far from the train window. We can see them clearly that way.
The lightness of writing is like the lightness of a ballerina. She twirls, leaps, and balances in impossible poses; this all being on her own. With a male accompaniment, she is effortlessly lifted into the air as though she is as light as air. We all know that she is, in fact, heavy (although weight is relative considering a ballerina’s size). We also know that she has probably been training since the age of two. These are the logical observations we make after watching the ballet, but during we are suspended in disbelief that she is floating across the stage. A ballerina hides her strength in her beauty.
I’m sure you’ve heard about the ridiculous shoes ballerinas wear for point. Literally, all of their weight is focused on their toes, pressed against a hard piece of wood. Their feet blister and bleed until they sufficiently build up calluses. Yet, in this picture it is as if she doesn’t even touch the ground. The very tip of her shoe rests effortlessly on the floor. We see beauty; she knows the difficulty that it takes to get there.
The writer knows that if they were to write a piece that was effortless, it would not result in beauty, just like an audience would rather watch the ballerina who has trained for years over my personal dancing skills. (I’m hinting at the fact that I’ve never taken lessons).