He wrote: It is one of the great troubles of life that we cannot have any unmixed emotions. There is always something in our enemy that we like and something in our sweetheart that we dislike.
How true, how true. Although when it comes to some evil doers (Hitler for example) I can't think of a single thing I like. But I believe Yeats may have been talking about people we know. I can think of people I don't care for but who, despite certain personality traits that cause me to experience them as untrustworthy, still have something about them which is good or likable. And those whom I care for can sometimes be irritating.
And so it is with our characters. To make them more human, more realistic, they must be sprinkled with both salt and pepper, sugar and chili. Think of sitting down to a banquet with absolutely gorgeous food spread out before you. Yet when you bite into it, it's bland. No seasonings, no herbs, no spices. How disappointing would that be?
Let us season our writing. Let us become chefs who have learned how to use the right amounts of fear or angst or longing or love or desire or peevishness or cruelty or deception or...you get the picture. Too much of one or not enough of another can spoil the whole meal.
I just have to include it, my favorite poem by Yeats.
He Wishes for the Clothes of Heaven
Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
Are you familiar with Yeats? Do you have a favorite poem?