The phrase used as the title of this blog is often cited as an example of how not to write for the modern reader.
First, the language is too flowery, too precious, too self-conscious. It belongs to another time and has no place in the fast-paced world of the twenty-first century.
Second, the writer is wasting words on a sunrise when she could be filling the page with plot, action, conflict or dialogue.
Usually I agree with that advice, but it’s summertime. We’re on vacation. Life has slowed down. We take time to draw a deep breath and to gaze in wonder at a glorious sunrise. I was headed out early with the fisherman the other day and the sky really was rosy, the streaks of light across the horizon did resemble fingers. I didn’t think “uh-oh, pollution.” or “the sky is pink”, or even “do I have sunscreen?” I thought, “the rosy fingers of dawn.” A hackneyed phrase, rather like “it was a dark and stormy night,” but watching the sunrise soothed my soul, stilled my restless spirit, and quieted my anxious mind.
Sometimes outdated, clichéd and derided language is perfect for the moment.
I really dislike the “rules” of writing that say I should avoid certain words, that I should never describe sunsets and my characters have to be in constant motion. Mostly, that is all good advice, but the author is still in charge of her own work. If a sunrise fits the story, I’m all for wallowing in it — especially in summertime.
Right now, I’ll bend the rules by telling you I’m watching the sunset. The colours in the western sky have changed from orange to red, to rose, to indigo. The mountains on the horizon are navy blue and the fir trees point black fingers into the heavens. The tension of my day has vanished. My soul is at peace and I don’t care about the writing “rules.”