I took this picture, then, back home, I opened it on my Macintosh and discovered the two birds, which came as a little miracle. I thought the picture was good (roofs/landscape, the light, the funny road), but it became cool because of these two guys, right?
One could call this “small impressive things”. Borgès called it “long-range laconic details”…
We have in France an idiom for this, le je-ne-sais-quoi (“the I-don’t-know-what”), the little thing that can make something magic, and also can spoil everything. One philosopher even wrote a book about this “almost nothing” (V. Jankelevitch, Le je-ne-sais-quoi et le presque rien).
No doubt he was fond of music, which is almost a wizardry on this topic (thinking about unexpected (or hidden) dissonances or modulations).
It can blossom in many discreet things, purposed mistakes or strange seeds.
This is important in Arts, where perfection is often boring.
“Beautiful books are written in a kind of foreign language”, says Proust.
In a poem, a single word can be strangely placed (or repeated, like in Gertrud Stein’s, “Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose”) and a sensation appears :
“Now listen! I’m no fool. I know that in daily life we don’t go around saying ‘is a … is a … is a …’ Yes, I’m no fool; but I think that in that line the rose is red for the first time in English poetry for a hundred years.”.
It can be a single phrase in a whole song. The example of J. Denver :
Country roads, take me home
To the place I belong
Mountain mamma, take me home
Seems a simple song about nostalgia, but hidden in the song you find “Driving down the road I get a feeling/That I should have been home yesterday”, which colors it differently, right?
“Everything that goes wrong… goes right” is one cool secret.
Details, games of subtleties, purposed mistakes, flakes of gold, unexpected elements, all are “je-ne-sais-quoi”s which put the audience into a state I love.
Thanks for reading!