Friday, October 12, 2012

The Details

       Mies van der Rohe said, “God is in the details.” A quote, that just by saying out loud, reverberates multiple meanings and can invoke inner contemplation. God can mean different things to different people, depending on their culture and background. But essentially, Mr. van der Rohe calls for focus on the glorious minute. While he may have meant to inspire architects to pay attention to every aspect of their design, this aphorism draws the attention, and contains meaning, for all artists.
    Mies van der Rohe is attributed to creating the sky scraper wrapped in glass. This look is sleek and without break. It isn't covered in detailed wood working, or stone sculptures. He believed architecture should reflect the age of its creation. He appreciated gothic cathedrals, but that was not his age. His was the modern industrial age of steel and glass. As literary artists we take in the world around us, our experiences, and input them into our work, just as Mies did in his architecture. Robert Bulter, from From Where you Dream interpreted Mies's famous quote into “the human condition resides in the details, the sense details” (14). He believes that writers are “sensualists” that we are “...ravished by sensual experience” (14). Our details come from never looking away, to absorb the world from grandiose sky scraper, to the grasshopper in Times Square. To “...yearn to take life in,” is the standard of which Mr. Butler demands of writers (14).
   What's more exciting then being called out to live life and take notice of the beautiful things that will inspire. Good writing comes, not only after sitting down day after day, but from letting the whirling experiences of life spin inside of us. Once ready, the spinning snake will spring, surging vibrations to our finger tips and onto the page. Do not close your eye's. Allow yourself to hurt, to love, to find joy, and observe the age that you live in. If you have writers block, if you find the blank page to be an abyss, go out and be "ravished by sensual experiences". (14) What spins inside shall erupt.

Butler, Robert Olen. From Where You Dream: The Process of Writing Fiction. Ed. Janet Burroway. New York: Grove, 2005. Print.


  1. It's always good to remember those words, Nina. Someone else once said that God was our ultimate editor.

  2. It's like in art class, where the teacher kept telling us we had to see things, really see things, to draw them. Only writers make their portraits in words.