Can You Be Obscure Clearly?

Clearly obscure?

Lately, WordPress has been leaving quotes in a side window whenever I publish a blog. These little tidbits sometimes make me laugh and sometimes make me think. There’s one in particular that’s really stuck with me…

“Be obscure clearly.” E.B. White

What could that mean, exactly?

It’s been echoing around my brain, the tone and inflection changing from time to time so that the meaning shifts and slips. It knocked loose another quote, only vaguely remembered about fiction being truth or revealing truth.

A little research (all hail the internet) revealed this:

“Fiction reveals truth that reality obscures.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Which immediately dredged up a line from The X-Files:

“…A Lie to Find the Truth.”  Mulder, Season 5 Episode 2, Redux (The X-Files)

And still the E.B. White quote roams the landscape of my imagination, up and down the pathways in the garden of ideas. Amazing how a few words can do that. And how they can connect with other bits and pieces in the mind to form a vast, strange web.

What do these quotes mean to you? What are your favorite quotes about fiction or lies and truth?

Image Attribution:
White sunset by torremountain, on Flickr CC BY 2.0

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Categories: Tuesday Toss-Up | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Can You Be Obscure Clearly?

  1. If E. B. White said it, I believe it like gospel.

  2. Right you are if you say you are obscurely.

    • I should have written…

      “Right you are if you say you are obscurely.”

      An Essay from Time Magazine long, long ago. It has been our family motto for many years. We all understand it; do you?

  3. @Caleb: Indeed. 😀

    @Jack: I’m clearly unclear. 😉

  4. How about Yogi Berra’s: ‘Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours.’

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