Edgar Allen Poe is one of my favorite writers. He was something of a tragic figure, with his addiction to opium and whatnot, but his mind wandered down dark and twisted paths that few would notice much less examine closely.
Check out this description of a clock: “It was in this apartment, also, that there stood against the western wall, a gigantic clock of ebony. It’s pendulum swung to and fro with a dull, heavy, monotonous clang; and when the minute-hand made the circuit of the face, and the hour was to be stricken, there came from the brazen lungs of the clock a sound which was clear and loud and deep and exceedingly musical, but of so peculiar a note and emphasis that, at each lapse of an hour, the musicians of the note orchestra were constrained to pause, momentarily, in their performance, to harken to the sound and thus the waltzers perforce ceased their evolutions; and there was a brief disconcert of the whole gay company; and, while the chimes of the clock yet rang, it was observes that the giddiest grew pale, and the more aged and sedate passed their hands over their brows as in confessed revery or meditation” -from “The masque of the Red Death”
The description is in no way truly vital to the story of the Red Death, but is at the same time an integral part of the setting of the whole story. The entire story could be told without this paragraph long description of a single clock, but something is added to the ominous air by the intensity of the description of the clock itself, as if it were one of the characters of the story.
When I write, I like to imagine myself writing like this, but I find that the world I live in doesn’t really allow for it, seeking to “move on” with the story as quickly as possible. When I write for myself, I want this to be what I write, how I write. Where one small facet of the setting defines the “air” of the setting with such skill and quality that a talented painter could paint a picture of exactly what I see in my mind’s eye.