There are lots of passages in The Body Artist that describe various things: particular body movements/gestures, locations, vocal qualities, landscapes. DeLillo often steers clear of using flowery adjectives or similes and simply names the location or body part then tells us what it looks like or what it's doing.
- She poured milk into the bowl. He sat down and got up. He went to the fridge and got the orange juice and stood in the middle of the room shaking the carton to float the pulp and make the juice thicker. He never remembered the juice until the toast was done. Then he shook the carton. Then he poured the juice and watched a skim sizzling foam appear at the top of the glass.
- She picked a hair out of her mouth. She stood at the counter looking at it, a short pale strand that wasn't hers and wasn't his.
There is something wonderfully matter-of-fact about that excerpt, and it reminds me that it's okay to simply tell it like it is. He describes the activities, the movements, and all of a sudden--to me, at least--there is an image / a scene for me to hold on to. No need for lyrical or poetic construction. The action exists without the clutter.
Also (and this may sound a lil duh), it's important to accurately name objects, animals, materials. Natalie Goldberg (Writing Down the Bones) writes, "Give things the dignity of their names....When we know the name of something, it brings us closer to the ground. It takes the blur out of our mind; it connects us to the earth....I am noticing what is around me and can name it. It makes me more awake."
Note to my inner-novelist: Take it easy on the frills. Just tell it like it is.