It’s Always about the Marshmallows
It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.
If Pride and Prejudice is put in the DVD player, then homemade hot chocolate had better be heating on the stove. Oreo’s are expected to show up before show time and so are Twizzlers. However, heaven forbid if marshmallows fail to plop down into the steaming cups of chocolate milk. So what if there are no marshmallows?
Well, life will go on…that is true. But the marshmallows, floating in the chocolate pool until they melt making a creamy foam, adds an extra punch. Details, like a teaspoon of cinnamon in brownie mix, a handwritten note that’s been painstakingly decorated, or that unanticipated hug when needed most, are examples of things capable of enriching any day. I smile, saturated with happiness, when I see a kind note of encouragement left on my computer, especially since a super busy teenager took the time to write it.
Details are important. Look at this photograph of New York City taken on New Year’s Eve, 2009. The shot oozes with a sense of commotion detailing how crazy the atmosphere is in NYC, especially when a celebration is under way. So many windows create interesting patterns above the people, some reflecting light while others are dark…which easily relates to the crowd since some of them possess hearts of light, while others are filled with darkness.
Although it may seem this photograph of a cat lacks details, it actually provides fantastic inspiration for poetry or a short story. The details are there…look again. Haphazardly white-washed, the steps look in need of repair because large gaps exist and weeds are growing. The black cat is not wearing a collar, and it may possibly be sniffing for food. The dirt in the larger pot is low and a small piece of paper is inside the pot, plus the plant on the step looks dead. So questions arise. How many cats live at this place? Could the piece of paper be important? Is the owner of this place in need of help? The photograph makes me wonder about what the front door looks like and who lives inside. Ah, yes…details. They are juicy tidbits that enhance everything.
As far as details in the craft of writing, let’s consider only characterization for this post. The most memorable characters are the ones whose personalities jump from the pages as a direct result of their characterization being filled with unique details about their past, present, and future goals, their habits…likes and dislikes, and details that reveal their inadequacies. Sometimes, what a character does wrong is more memorable than what most people would consider his/her high points. A flawed, but likeable, character with a deep dark secret…who gets into a precarious situation, compels many readers to find out what happens because they can relate to that on some level. Perfect characters? Does anyone know a perfect person? That would be difficult to relate to.
If by some chance you hit a grocery market today, snag a bag of marshmallows. Make hot chocolate, and add a handful of details to an ordinary day. You’ll smile with glee while snuggling on the couch with that special person…because life should be filled with marshmallows.
What are the details in your life that make it special? Have you had the pleasure of receiving a unique gift, or gesture, that while not necessary to survive, it caused joy? Feel free to leave a comment! Thanks for visiting the Noracast.