Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Mercury, planet of communication, has just returned direct on its course as of yesterday, and today, drifts through Virgo, the sign of meticulousness and detail, as well as service. This implies a refocusing on the details of one's life and the possibility of "fall cleaning" as people attempt to get their lives back in order after the Merucry-in-retrograde period. As Virgo likes to say, a place for everything and everything in its place.

Revamping one's life to return to order is more easily said that done. There are so many aspects of life to keep straight and this writer, for one, is feeling a little overwhelmed. Whether you are dealing with school, work, projects, partners, friends, enemies or just quotidian minutiae, one might hope that the Mercury in Virgo will be there to support and benefit you. As they say, "Life is in the details," but then they also say, "You can't see the forest for the trees," and who are they anyway?!

Details become a huge part of human life. You never hear a cat saying, "I'm sorry; can you run that by me again? I missed the part where you feed me and I eat. What exactly do I do first?" True, details are a natural part of life. One only has to look at the intricacies in a spider web or the patterns of dots on a lily to see that detail is what helps create beauty. Yet being bogged down in detail is certainly a human construct, is it not? We try to keep things simple, but eventually, all of the little parts begin to speak and soon, it is a cacophony of clamoring slices of the whole. After all, that is where the word "detail" comes from: detailler, meaning to cut up into pieces.

This is not to say that those pieces are not important. Far from it. After all, a word is comprised of letters - at least in the romantic and germanic traditions. These letters are associated with sounds and the sounds are then put together to create blended sounds, which we then associate with meaning, thus creating a word. Words are then put together to create sentences and sentences to create stories, or blogs just like this one. So without the details, the story in question could not exist. And then you come back and say, "Well, a picture is worth a thousand words." Of course. Let's examine the millions of brush strokes or pencil marks, etc, that make up that picture. Or if it's a mental picture, then the millions of details that you might notice in creating that picture - the colors, the movement, the textures, the expressions - and that's just the visual sense. Everything here is comprised of detail, including a blog about detail.

Then, of course, teachers ask you, "What's the gist of the story?" Well, now, although the detail is vital, that's not what the teacher is after. In fact, most people don't want to hear the innumerable details when a story is being told. It rarely matters whether the incident happened on a Tuesday, at 2:56pm, outside on a day of 83 Many people would get fed up with such a story. Vital in a police report; boring in a tale. Therefore, they want the gist, the overall action. What happened? One has to eschew the many details to pick out the important themes. The whole truly is greater than the sum of its parts. It's working through those parts to find the whole that makes it difficult, but once the whole is found, the parts don't seem to matter much anymore.

So go ahead and sweat the small stuff. Just don't let them take over.


  1. Loving seeing another writer keeping an eye on the path of Mercury.

    I spent the Retro period enjoying some of my favourite books. Given my businss partner and I are getting down to the serious business of editing our anthology - it seems like a good time to sweat the small stuff.

    Finding a balance betweent the details and the gist is an interesting job. This is where I love dialogue - getting conversation to take care of the details (the world building as it is in my current project as outside participant of Fourth Fiction) I've also been writing and editing to the maxim "does this progress the story" ... I guess that can be rather subjective when we're in so close to the story ... but I've found it helpful to sweat out the important small details and the unimportant ones.

  2. Yes of course. The details creates the whole but ones the whole is found the details shades away. I like your blog.