More from Ferrucci’s book, Inevitable Grace:
The French poet Paul Valery wrote that his close acquaintance Edgar Degas had the ability of perfectly reproducing anyonje he had observed. When he felt lonely, says Valery, Degas went out and spent his evenings traveling on open tramways.
Degas described a woman in such detail as to be astonishing:
” She ran the fingers over her dress to uncrease it, contrived to sit well back so that she fitted into the curve of the support, drew her gloves as tightly as possible over her hands, buttoned them carefully, ran her tongue along her lips whicdh she had bittenh gently, worked her body inside her clothes, so as to freel fresh and at ease in her warm underwear. Finally after lightly pinching the end of her nose, she drew down her veil, rearranged a curl of hair with an alert finger, and then, not without a lightning survey of the contents of her bag, seemed to put an end to this series of operations with the expression of one whose task is done.”
Ferrucci observes, “Whoever wants to paint an image cannot represent it without first being it.”
This may be hard for Americans because we are taught that each of us are completely separate from each other. We disuse this tool of entering into another’s world until we no longer believe it is possible to enter into another’s world. Yet, for storytellers, this may be an essential tool.