Monosyble is not a spelling mistake. I had no idea what it meant, but I learned by visiting the art gallery at Northwestern State University, Natchitoches.
On view through Nov. 16 is The Idea of One, an exhibit of acrylic and mixed media paintings by JonMarc Edward.
It features the monosyble.
Simplistically, use the letters "b" and "o" and "x" to draw -- a box. You can stretch or shrink the letters, turn them in any direction, use capital or little letters, choose any lettering style.
You can use any background, add materials to form a collage, etc., etc., etc. Title your drawing "Box." There, you have a monosyble that can stand alone.
Now, "read" your drawing just as you read its title.
Of course, a monosyble can be used to build multiple layers. It can form a phrase, sentence or word groupings. Using the above "box," for example, combine it to create "outside the box."
What you as a viewer get out of it depends on how much time you want to stand there mulling the artwork.
That mulling may explain the monosyble's presence in Natchitoches.
"We want to broaden the use of the gallery," says NSU Art Gallery Director Roberta Walters, an assistant professor in the university's art department. "The students need to see local art but they also need to see what artists are doing in other places."
Friends in California told her about Los Angeles-based Edwards.
Now that you've faced the monosyble concept, if you want to turn technical, consider this from Edwards' Web site:
"Mon/o/syb/le: (mono,<Gk.<monos, single, alone?syble refers to: 1. Syllable<Gk. Sullable<sullambanein, to combine in pronunciation 2. Sibyl<Ge.<sibulla.a woman prophet 3. Syble<in american pop lexicon, to have multiple personalities.) In a nut shell, monosyble means one and many characters."
Intriguing, isn't it?
To see more, visit JonMarc Edwards' Web site at www.textact.com.
But to really get the picture, visit the exhibit at NSU.
Alice B. Story writes this column weekly. Her e-mail address is email@example.com