There's also the general announcement:
I am loathe to inform you of my ailment, but the doctors heavily suggest that I do so, if only for your own good. It appears that some time ago I concocted a pox that, oddly, has turned my toes the color of ripened Concord grapes. Not all of them--God forbid!--but enough so that it's given me cause for concern. Please consider this memorandum your fair warning.
At first, this may seem the most obvious way to let the world know something. The Memorandum Announcement Act of 1996 practically made this way the standard operating procedure for the last fifteen years, but SOP is anything but subtle. (And subtlety is what we're after, after all.) This type of information conveyance comes in many forms, from blog posts to hand-written notes penned in invisible ink and delivered by the Pony Express. Oh, and email and text messages, too, though they're generally less verbose.
Similar to a memo is the Facebook status update. This time-honored tradition (if you're an infant and have no idea what the words time-honored or tradition mean) is akin to a thought going off in your head. A friend makes a status update,
XXXXX: Uh, my toes are all purpley.and 'ere long the world knows that his toes have gone all purpley. The same is apparently true with Twitter, yet another social media webservice, though it somehow uses birds to deliver messages across the globe.
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And yet none of these are subtle. Subtleness is an art. It's concealing hidden messages on old records that can only be heard while tripping on quaaludes and playing the record backwards for some reason. It's Sauron giving out nineteen rings as Christmas presents while crafting a secret ring to control those nineteen ring-wearers. It's subliminal messages that are only made apparent after the fact. This, friends, is subtlety. And subtlety is where it's at.
When I'm reading a book and the author subtly drops hints that you pick up on during the conclusion, I smile at the author's cleverness, especially when I can look back and see the obvious buried nuggets. Being subtle is a thought-shaping art that, when done correctly, can create a legion of followers that all get the wool pulled over their eyes. We're not a people that enjoys being fooled, but we are a people that enjoys being played with, relishing intelligent television shows or movies.
Of course, one can be too subtle, and this is worse than being forthright and blunt. Being too subtle obfuscates meaning and leaves an audience aggravated and confused. This, I feel, is a problem I wrestle with in my writing. When one is being clever, the balance between revelation and subtlety is manageable; when one is being cleverer, the balance is a tilted see-saw and ain't nobody gettin' what you trying to say.
If I were clever, I would have hidden the name of my daughter in this post somewhere, but I'm not, and I didn't. Instead, I made a Facebook announcement Saturday night, officially making her name public knowledge. And that, as it were, is the point of this post. So, with a slight build up of dramatic tension, I would like to announce that when our daughter is born come June-30th-ish, we will be calling her
Avonlea Brynn Stewart.
(There's no period after her name, but, you know, for the sake of grammatical correctness.) Avonlea comes from L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables series, which my wife loves, and I thought the name beautiful. Brynn is a mixture of Keisha's middle name (Lynn) and something that sounds Celtic. Stewart comes from a long line of nobles that live somewhere across the pond.
Thank you. That is all.