A lesson in a line

Read­ing in bed last night, I came across this gem:

It is always a temp­ta­tion to say that such feel­ings are inde­scrib­able, though they sel­dom are.
— Gene Wolfe, The Sword of the Lic­tor (vol. III in the Book of the New Sun tetral­o­gy), chap­ter XXII: “The Skirts of the Mountain” 

In a sin­gle line the author evis­cer­at­ed a fair­ly com­mon trope in SF/F writ­ing. Now and for­ev­er after, when I read a sen­tence stat­ing that X was inde­scrib­able or refer­ring to an inde­scrib­able colour or an inde­scrib­able feel­ing, I’m going to won­der: Is it real­ly inde­scrib­able, though, or is the author sim­ply not inter­est­ed enough to describe it to me?

I’ve tak­en the les­son to heart, though: from here on out I’ll be doing my best to excise inde­scrib­able from my own lexicon.

Series: Gene Wolfe

The entire series: The Gold­en Sen­tence; A les­son in a line; Inde­scrib­able; My head­’s swim­ming now; The Island of Dr. Death.