Loving details can be both exhausting and lonely. I’ve always been the one to jump into others’ attempts to tell stories by correcting minute details, ruining the story in the process. Because when I step back I realize they weren’t really messing up the story. They were giving it life.
I’m not much of a painter but I imagine that brush choice, whether you use a thick or thin brush, is important. I imagine a painting created using a single type of brush may lack depth (artists – feel free to correct). And I think the same is true of stories.
Good storytellers know when to use a broad brush and when to use a thin brush. I imagine this comes naturally to some, the ability to switch brushes, to know the utility of each brush.
To see the importance of the small brush in creating beauty of small details.
To see the importance of the large brush in giving fullness, keeping the story moving.
But this is far from natural to me. When I step away from details, try to instead create beauty, I’m walking in foreign territory. Away from the comfort of my homeland of concrete truth. But I feel drawn to visit this foreign place. To learn how to paint with my words. Learning when to take a small brush and add another detail that might bring new light to a seemingly dark picture. We all need more light, more depth, more perspective.
I recently heard bits of a news report about narrative therapy. People take their life stories, rewrite them, and find their outlook on past, present, and future has changed. I only heard a minute of this story, but it fascinated me. Words are so powerful. The stories we’ve told ourselves for years, that we assumed to be true, that have power over us, are often missing important details, details that can help us forgive others or ourselves. What if we took some power back and added those details that turn darkness into beauty?