Yesterday my husband brought in a pussywillow branch he had discovered on his daily walk with the dog. I was ecstatic! Yes, he brings me one almost every year, but I never tire of seeing this early hint of springtime in the wings.
I regularly rejoice about pussywillows. (If you doubt it, I can point you to a number of previous posts such as this one, and this one, too.) I’m not exactly sure what their attraction is. They aren’t nearly as pretty as unfurling pink-tinged Helleborus buds or petite Snowdrops with their nodding white heads. I suspect it has something to do with the contradictory nature of their silken hardiness. It probably helps that since my childhood and beyond, they have never failed to appear with their springtime promise, despite late season snowfalls such as we had yesterday. You’d think I’d grow accustomed to their annual appearance instead of going on and on about it, but I never do. (I’ll stop now, before you start muttering about how boring I am.)
Repetition has its uses. For the child constantly reminded to ‘stop, look and listen’ before crossing a street, it can get boring, but the repetition hammers the message home and helps keep him safe on the way to school. For choir members who don’t read music, many repetitions of a new song eventually cement the melody and harmony into a cohesive unit… a creation suitable for performance.
Repetition reveals old things in a new light, and it provides emphasis. At my writers’ group yesterday I was reminded that I often need to hear the same message, and read the same advice multiple times but from different sources, before I finally ‘get it’.
Writers also know there are no new plots — nothing that hasn’t been written about before — so we keep producing new stories by putting our unique spin on the same old themes.
The reappearing pussywillow? I suppose it’s a visible reminder of God’s endless promises…
“While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat, summer and winter,
day and night, shall not cease.”
“… His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.”
How have you experienced repetition? Has it been a positive or a negative?
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3 thoughts on “Repetition: Reinforcing or Boring?”
As one pastor always said, “I need to hear the Word over and over again because I’m a leaky vessel.” Repetition helps us hold onto what we’ve learned.
That’s true, Susan, and I like your pastor’s way of putting it. 🙂
I think it’s about the subtle reinforcing or reminding that works best in writing. For children, especially boys, subtle doesn’t generally work. LOL. At least that’s what I’ve found.