“The moment we give close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world unto itself.” Henry Miller
A blade of grass — a magnificent world. Now, that’s a writer paying close attention! Isn’t that one of our biggest gifts as writers — attending to what most people ignore or miss? But isn’t it also one of our biggest challenges?
Seeing, really seeing, takes time and energy. It takes an open heart and an unfettered mind—one that’s willing to go anywhere.
It’s so easy to look for what we want or expect to find, isn’t it? But seeing— giving close attention to the world around us and in us — is an art — a craft we can cultivate. And what rewards it offers!
When we give close attention, we concentrate our mind — we aim and focus it, strengthening our ability to screen out distractions.
When we give close attention, we see what others miss. We find our way into the heart of a character we’re creating or connecting with.
When we give close attention, we notice the qualities that make someone or something unique.
When we pay close attention, we begin to appreciate how “mysterious” and “magnificent” what we’re attending to really is.
As writers we conjure up whole worlds or discover them or recover them for our readers. We bring them the gift of seeing something they might have missed or forgotten or even pushed away — and then help them see it as well. And when writer and reader attend closely together, what magnificent worlds are revealed! So let’s pay close attention. Let’s see, really see, as we all write on!
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