Subtlety Is the Bomb

by Madeleine Rex

A common amateurish writing mistake (I should know all about amateurish mistakes) is the belief that subtlety is overrated. In reality, subtlety is what we encounter everyday. When was the last time you were greatly effected by something big, dramatic, and over-the-top? Last week? Now consider the last time you were emotionally or physically effected by something the would appear insignificant or innocuous? Two hours ago?

It’s often the subtle issues or events that hit a more personal cord. I, for one, tend to fall for the characters with bunches of small quirks as opposed to those who are constantly extreme.

I started thinking about this yesterday after something subtle (though unarguably tragic) happened to change my life, even if in a small way. I got up in the morning to clean my bird cage to find my two darling birds lying dead on the bottom of their cage. I’d put off refilling their food dispenser a moment too long, and their fragile little bodies couldn’t take it. Following this was a not-so-brief episode of guilt and grief and shock (not in that order). But then I began to think.

The birds weren’t my only problem. My life has been far too messy lately. I’ve been less diligent than I’d like and have neglected the things I love. This small, seemingly innocuous event (of my birds dying) caused me to make some changes in my life, thereby effecting me more than might have been expected.

It’s those things that appear insignificant that can often be revolutionary.

P.S. If I used “effect” incorrectly, forgive me. I can never keep “affect” and “effect” straight.

7 Commentsto “Subtlety Is the Bomb”

  1. i'm sorry about your birds 🙁 and i agree about the small moment big revelation thing, lovely post.

  2. Awww, I'm sorry about your birds. 🙁 That's terrible. I did something similar with my hamster when I was in high school…it took me a few days to even realize he was dead since I thought he was just doing his hamster thing, curled in a ball in his bed. I STILL feel horrible for that… 🙁

    I don't think that's such an innocuous event! But, I do think you're right that small events can lead to BIG changes. I had a similar "awakening" over the weekend, and I'm putting forth a new foot!

    And don't worry about affect/effect. Usually, Affect = verb meaning to change/alter/impact something while Effect = noun meaning the consequence/result from something. "My words really affected my sister, and the effect was that she tried to be a nicer person."

    • Thanks for the grammar tips!

      I'm sorry about your hamster! May he rest in peace. What was the nature of your "awakening," if you don't mind sharing?

  3. Haha! Rexicon? I love it!

    I'm so glad that you so often find something interesting/inspiring/helpful in my posts. Reading comments like yours makes gloomy days brighter!

  4. I'm sorry about the birds, Maddie… 🙁

    And I know all too well that the smallest things can change your direction or priorities. No worries, sweet girl. You are amazing as a person, not even considering how your age makes you even more amazing. 😉

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