Hanging around Merriam-Webster online today, looking for some inspiration as I approach teaching "image" in my intro to creative writing class.

The dictionary reminds me that an image is
"a reproduction or imitation of the form of a person or thing" or its "optical counterpart" or "a visual representation of something" or "an exact likeness." Not much there...

Ah, but in the synonyms, following after carbon and clone and doppelganger...."fetch."

What a lovely word! To fetch, to bring back. A fetch in sailing, to reach a shore or mark, or that expanse of water across which wind can build and waves grow. A fetch, a likeness, an image, perhaps only familiar today in the expression "a fetching girl."

The image demands that we focus the attention and find the this in that, the identity that was trained in us as, waiting our turn in the dentist's chair, we looked for the differences between the drawings. The image is not the thing, certainly, but it calls it to mind, fetches it back from wherever in the brain that memory resides. And so we go looking for that right word, that resonant image, that likeness.

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