Sometimes I think that Jung had it exactly right – we are all connected at some unconscious level – at least I think that every time I read a Write on Wednesday post from Becca; today is no different. She asks:
How about you? Are you detail oriented in your writing? What are some of the details you most notice in the world around you? What details do you focus on in your writing – place, character, emotional? What are the kinds of detailed descriptions you most like to read about?
I love to read about (and write about) physical details, particularly the way things feel and sound. I find myself often describing the way a breeze might feel on my face, or how my toes feel tucked under the leg of a good friend or kitten. Something about the sense of touch seems extremely alive to me, perhaps because I crave physical touch so often, opting to give relative strangers shoulder rubs just to feel the sensation of another body against my hands.
I also love to describe sound. For instance, right now the train is going by my house with all it’s rolling chug and ebb and flow of forward motion. It reminds me, today, of the sound of a tilt-a-whirl at an amusement part.
To me detail is the heart of writing. So often I read really good ideas that have no life, and almost always I chalk that up to lack of detail. The character doesn’t have a body that moves a certain way or a voice that breaks at just that octave. The setting is dark and dank, but the streetlights don’t reflect off of anything or the air doesn’t smell like leaves in fall.
All of life is in the details, to work out that cliche a bit. No person exists beyond their idiosyncracies. No place is the same as any other place – but it is only in careful description of the minutiae that people and places become fully themselves.
As an example, here’s what I heard this morning (before I read Becca’s prompt) as I did my writing practice – the click, the bounce of my jaw. Desiree’s car idling. A truck passing on Rt. 40. Little, tiny birds chittering. My own sniffles. The light dots of sound that my pen makes. My stomach growling. One bird crying out above the others. That’s in two minutes in my suburban neighborhood. So much there to be captured.
How about you guys? What do you think of detail?
I’m blessed again to have one of my essays “Reflection on Shadows” published in Ginosko. You can download the entire issue through the link at the left. Be sure to read through the pieces there, especially Madison’s short story. Really lovely stuff.