“…because the detail is divine, if you caress it into life, you find the world you have lost or ignored, the world ruined or devalued. The world you alone can bring into being, bit by broken bit. And so you create your own integrity, which is to say your voice, your style.”From Patricia Hampl, “The Dark Art of Description” The Best American Essays 2009
because the detail is divine
by Cynthia Newberry Martin | Aug 8, 2010 | details, essays | 10 comments
I love this quote. It’s all in the details (at least I believe that) and this is a marvelous reminder this morning. Thank you.
I’m glad you like it, Lindsey. This quote really struck me as something I wanted to pay attention to.
One reason I love to snap photos is to help me remember details when I write. With my present project, co-writing Deirdre Gogarty’s memoir, she not only kept a diary, she has film of most of her fights. Her career and life are well documented, so we have this treasure chest of details “to bring into being.” Thanks, C, I love the quote, too.
Darrelyn, I’ve just started using photos in that exact way. Good writing tip. And how wonderful to have access to film as well as a diary for Deirdre’s memoir.
a beautiful quote, but very very sad.
Must we loose something to be aware of it?
Jennifer, that’s an interesting reading. I was thinking of it more the other way around–with the detail as a key opening the door into lost or forgotten moments.
hmmm, I re-read and I still see it the other way. that’s the wonderful way with writing…
I was just saying the same thing to Lindsey about one of her posts!
This quote is one that requires reading several times, so many layers, truths. A gem.
Thanks, Terresa. I kept reading it over and over. Then I put it on my desk. Probably I should have written more about it, but I loved the way it looked, all by itself, with this photo.