When I look up the word in my trusty American Heritage Dictionary this is what I get:
and in the Merriam the following:el·e·gance (l-gns)
n.1. a. Refinement, grace, and beauty in movement, appearance, or manners.
b. Tasteful opulence in form, decoration, or presentation.
2. a. Restraint and grace of style.
b. Scientific exactness and precision.
|2.||elegance - a quality of neatness and ingenious simplicity in the solution of a problem (especially in science or mathematics); "the simplicity and elegance of his invention"|
And here is a quote about Channing's symphony that resonates with me:
"To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common - this is my symphony."It is elusive, this idea of elegance. As I scroll through various meanings certain words pop up - restraint, economy, simplicity and surprisingly in many quotes - 'refusal'. I would like to do an entire edit of my manuscript with that notion in the foremost of my mind. Refusal to use several words when one will do - refusal of the rococo, of the layering on of several meanings on the back of one poor thin theme; a hard look at which words, characters, ideas offer a simple elegant solution to the needs of my novel.
If I look at it as if I were helping a young woman dress for a special occasion I might be able to get it. Let the natural beauty of the thing be allowed to glow - not the garish make-up used when we think the receiver won't see what is there unless we paint it up, underline it several times and deliver it covered in bling and baubles.
Tell me what comes to your mind when you contemplate elegance.