Monday, September 10, 2012

The Big Picture and the Details

I always thought of myself as a person who saw the big picture and I do still believe that; however, I also realize that at times, I get caught up in details. There have been some recent examples where this has become more apparent, causing me to flip the pages backwards to find others examples of both.

My significant other and I had this conversation over dinner after we saw the new movie, The Words, about a struggling writer who discovers an old manuscript, becomes enchanted with it, eventually typing it up to see what it would feel like to have written those words.  And here, the trouble begins, for this struggling writer. We had a difference of opinion on our overall interpretation of the movie. He caught a detail I missed and that was an important clue to the understanding of the truth behind the fiction. I still have my doubts and will not know for certain, unless I watch the movie again.

Although, this was a detail and a fact—that I the detailed one ironically missed—perhaps I was actually seeing the whole. I don’t know.

In thinking through it more, though, it has made me think of the times I have looked too much at details, and that while they are relevant at times, the big picture and the details are important toward a balanced understanding. I have to admit there is still a part of me that is resisting that I fall into the trap of detailed thinking. I suppose it’s situational. Sometimes the whole is visually clear to me and at other times it could be that I give in to the details.

I'm not positive where I feel my strength is and I also realize that it depends on the situation whether my detailed mind takes over. I've always striven to adopt a whole picture view, but being aware of the fact that I sometimes slip into detailed mode is needed in order to catch myself, knowing when it's appropriate to bring the microscope into focus, but always trying pull the focus back so that I'm not missing the whole.

I appreciated the movie for what it makes the viewer think about, though unless it's my naivety, I can't imagine any writer being able to live with themselves, knowingly stealing someone else’s writing and claiming it for their own, but I imagine it does happen in some capacity. Of course in the movie, we are told that the writer only intended to feel the writing and the words by tapping them out, to get close to them—at first. Then when the struggling writer’s wife reads what he wrote, was moved to tears and said it was like nothing he had every written before—that it was all of what was missing in his previous manuscripts—he was unable to reveal the truth to her because he wanted so much to succeed. And so the movie continues where it started in a sort of parallel fiction that crosses boundaries.

I enjoyed the movie, yet the end seemed to just end. I suppose I wanted more, but there wasn’t more and I knew that. It’s that I somehow became enthralled with it all, that I didn’t want the reel to stop running. After I started thinking more about the movie and how it was told, I was left not knowing if I believed the narrator or not—I didn’t know how much was truth and how much was fiction. I may have been reading too much into it or perhaps I missed a few of the subtle details, or the one subtle detail that my significant other honed in on that I had missed.


ZACL said...

You may find an answer when you reflect from a greater distance.

Rebb said...

I have a hunch you that what you say is true, ZACL.