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It's All About Coming Home

The Magic is in the Details


On a recent episode of "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" Jerry Seinfeld had coffee with his greatest comedy influence, Jerry Lewis. Seinfeld wanted to discuss some of his favorite iconic bits where Lewis was in his genius. 

One such scene from "The Bellhop" Lewis appears to simply be walking through an empty ballroom. Seinfeld said, "You were playing like eight different characters there." To which Lewis responded, "Yeah, most people don't notice the details..." What they notice is that it's funny. And, the reason it's funny is that it wasn't general; instead was filled with specificity. And it's why it felt real, even in its silliness. 

The best actors spend a vast amount of time and dedication to being so specific in their scenes - What's their intention? What's behind the dialogue and actions? What's between the lines? - So that they embody the truth of the life they're portraying. They notice everything. 

The magic is in the details.

In a recent fiction writing class, the teacher talked repetitively about following the character moment to moment, with curiosity and great attention to detail. There's such discovery in the most minute instances. And, that's when the surprises happen, when, as the creator, you allow yourself to just be with that moment, inside the life of the person, as new moments, directions and discoveries present themselves. And, those are the moments that feel most true.

The magic is in the details. 

It got me thinking about how specificity can be a vital component to living a fully present life; a mindful, moment to moment aliveness. 

It's noticing what's right in front of you, the textures, feelings, sounds, colors, the unique details and nuances that keep you present.

It's noticing that the barrister at the coffee shop has a smattering of freckles on his nose.

Or that the brass has worn off the elevator button.

Or that your child holds her cup with her thumb and middle finger, just like you do.

Or that your dog uses his paw as a pillow.

Or a tree branch barely touches the top of the table on the patio, gently scratching it as the wind blows. 

Or that the person next to you in line has stepped aside so you can go first. 

What's magic about the details is how you allow them to surprise and delight. In what's next. In what's underneath. In what's there when you look closer. 

Just a little something to ponder as you head into your weekend. Get specific. Pay attention. Notice everything.

Look for the magic. It's in the details. 

Photo by Matthew T Rader on Unsplash