"Words! Words! Words! I'm so sick of words!" Tonight I'm watching My Fair Lady. It's one of those classics that makes me drop everything whenever it's on. Though, I must admit, it was an acquired taste. I first saw it back in high school and I just didn't understand why Eliza chose Professor Higgins over Freddy. It was high school, what else can I say? I needed everything spelled out for me.
One of my favorite numbers is "Show Me" when Eliza packs up her bags and leaves the professor's house. Her debonair young admirer Freddy has been waiting for her to make an appearance all night and immediately jumps up to woo her with words. But I have a new appreciation for this song because in my writing class we are constantly talking about showing versus telling.
"Don't talk of stars burning above; if you're in love, show me! Tell me no dreams filled with desire. If you're on fire, show me!" As I barrel on through this novel, this is something I have to keep reminding myself to do. Constantly. Don't tell the reader B is cold, show B's teeth chattering. Ha! If only every situation she was in was such an easy fix.
Anyway, what I always missed in this movie when I was younger were the subtle hints showing us that Professor Higgins is in love with Eliza. One of my favorite examples of showing vs telling of this change of heart is when they first discover she's gone missing and Colonel Pickering calls Scotland Yard to file a report. He can't remember what color Eliza's eyes are and Professor Higgins, who's been eavesdropping from the next room over, comes back into the room over and over shouting, "Brown! Brown! Brown!" It's boatloads more effective than Freddy singing about generic birds and crumbling hearts. Now that I can tell the difference, "On the Street Where You Live" still makes me giddy, but it's "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face" that truly melts my heart. Here's hoping what I show my readers will have the same effect!