Monday, January 23, 2006

Detailing Things

Some people say the Devil is in the details. Some folks say that you will find God there. You might find me playing in the details. But run if you find too many details playing around me.

I know there are many values in the details. I know that anything done well has beautiful detailed touches in place, put there with cleverness, emotional thought, and a lightness of care. But I am a big-picture thinker, learner, seer. I need the 30,000 foot view before I zoom in. Make me start on the ground with the details around me and 1000 mosquitoes take residence in my brain.

Some people can start with 1000 pieces and build a puzzle from them. I can too. I can do that—if all of the pieces belong to the same puzzle, and if that is the only thing that this brain has to do. It’s a luxury of time and a wonder of fun when such opportunities come my way.

More often what happens is 2000 details present themselves in small bunches, each from different puzzles, every one interrupting at different points during my day, until the buzz in my head turns to the chaotic sound that makes me wish for, long for, yearn for—actually start humming the summertime song of the cicadas. Cicadas might be loud, but at least there’s a rhythm, a big-picture to the sound.Yet even with that trick with the rising in and out buzzing soon, I’m soon wondering louder and louder, how do you tell a bunch of details to be quiet and sit down?

When I have the big picture, the vision, the puzzle in my head, I can herd details with the best of them. I’m like a cowhand with cattle. I can list them, sort them, move them on. I can order and prioritize them. I know which details are relevant and which I can leave behind. I can decide which to add, which will bring out the artfulness and which are gauche and unsightly. I can sing the theme song to the old TV show "Rawhide." But hide that big view from me, and my horse is gone. They’re no longer details. They become a stampede.

Not everyone’s head works like mine. This I know and fully accept. That’s why I say it publicly so that when my head goes on DEFCON FIVE BRAIN OVERLOAD, hopefully folks will understand that I can take the most colossal catastrophe you might throw at me with grace, agility, and charm.

The tiniest detail, on the other hand, just might turn me into mush on the floor.
—me strauss Letting me be


Melly said...

Oh, you're quite funny Liz. That was a good one :)

Do you know the show CSI? So are you saying you couldn't do what they do, build the puzzle without knowing the picture ahead of time? ;)

ME Strauss said...

Hey Melly,
Not when I'm stressed out like I was when I wrote that. :)

all right I give up. UNCLE.

You've got me laughing!

Get your butt to Chicago, so I can buy you a drink.

garnet david said...

I can relate. I like details when the big picture is clear, and can see the big picture better than most. But I hate the inbetween stuff, the grind to get from the big picture to the fun part where the details are so special.


ME Strauss said...

Thank you for knowing what I'm talking about. Too many deetails without the big picture and I end up pulling at my hair and trying to sort things out, sorting and sorting like a computer that needs defraging. Then when the big picture shows itself I'm calm again. :)