In July I painted this Green Summer Day,and these Ripe Red Apples.In the back of my mind I was remembering something the editor Elizabeth Law mentioned in a talk years ago. She kept a piece of paper pinned up by her desk that said simply; “Red, ripe tomatoes.” It reminded her of how powerful words could be, and every manuscript that she accepted had to deliver as much punch as those three words.
The phrase is evocative because it brings to mind color and taste, but also because it consists of three words. Three is the magic number.
I have read that the power of three comes from the Christian religion: the father, the son and the holy ghost. But it could be vice-versa: the threeness might give power to the trinity.
Another theory is that three is a powerful number because the triangle is such a stable form.Here are some images from a wonderful book published in 1963:In it the story of a day unfolds in threes.The extra text on this page was written (many years ago) by my sister Karla who brought this book to my attention (a few weeks ago).The sun has different expressions as the day goes on. The three foxes have remarkably similar expressions.And of course there is:
p.s. If you are interested in adjective order here is an article from Slate. It explores why it sounds normal to say BIG GREEN CHAIR and odd to say GREEN BIG CHAIR, for example.
p.s.s. If you are a close observer of this blog you will know that it is Margaret’s turn to post. Don’t worry – she will be writing next Friday instead of me.