Finding Beauty in the Detail

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Walking Cody, our Black Lab, has many benefits, one of which is taking notice of elements of the natural world otherwise missed when speeding by in a vehicle.

What elements? It’s usually the small flowers or plants that I stop and notice. I don’t always have my camera, so on occasion, I will return with said camera and get a picture. What has this to do with writing? I think it has much to do with the writing process.

It can, not always, inspire us to think on several levels, i.e., the metaphorical level. When I stopped and grabbed the above picture, I couldn’t help but stare at the “urban mushrooms” as they are called down here in Alabama and suddenly see “three sisters,” the smallest of which partially hides behind sister number two. One may also see three umbrellas, or one may see, well, three tiny mushrooms! That’s okay too. How does this work with the writing effort?

I believe that detail, especially in descriptive writing, is absolutely essential. The detail may be nothing more than naming a tree or plant. I believe if one can write, “mimosa trees provide shade for the driveway” that you have improved that image than if you simply wrote “trees shaded the driveway.” Once you have identified your tree, you can use known characteristics throughout your narrative. For instance, the fact that the Mimosa tree leaves fold up at night and awaken with sun rise, might be worth something for your character development (in Japan the Nemu Tree means “night sleeper.”) or that the tree attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, or that it’s invasive! Who knows?

Look at things. Grab a few moments to look at the world about you. I believe it was Georgia O’Keeffe who remarked that  most people don’t take the time to truly see things.

So what about it fellow writers and thinkers? What small things have inspired you lately? a buzzzing wasp? the moon and clouds at two a.m.? A cicada shell? a small blue flower at the edge of the looming woods?

3 thoughts on “Finding Beauty in the Detail

  1. candyyork

    I sometimes stand on my back deck in the hazy cool of the morning and just watch the steam start to rise off the deck as it heats up and then my dogs will come out and just flop down as if to say, “this is it, life is good, leave me be”. For that one brief moment I am serenely content with everything, then the day starts proper and I start chasing my own tail trying to get everything done and still find time to write! BTW, love the photos!

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  2. dweezer19

    Oh my, you have touched on the heart and soul of me. Behind my camera I am in a total state of bliss, as though the door to a magical kingdom has opened up and invited me inside. I revel in the miniscule, often overlooked beauty in the world around me. Call me crazy, but ai believe living things become aware of being noticed as well. These days I can’t even eat out without lizards pressing themselves against the glass until I take their photos! Perhaps they were always there and I just didn’t see them…..😉

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    1. paulabroome427 Post author

      I know exactly what you’re talking about. Just the other day, I was waiting for some bluebirds to get close enough for a picture and sure enough one flew in and “posed” it seemed on top of our cherry tree. It was a great moment. I also agree that photography has sharpened my awareness of the world about me. I’ve always been an outdoor person, but photography has taught me another way to see. The word “magical” is most apt!

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