It is all about perspective.
This lily, that neither Captain Cavedweller nor I recall planting, started growing next to our lilac bush. And it grew. And grew. By the time it bloomed, the top blossom stood as tall as my head. It made the other lilies we planted out front quite jealous with their stubby 18-24 inch height. Looking at just a single bloom, the lily appears to the same as the other lilies. But a step back changes the view. Several steps back allow us to see how truly huge and tall this lily stands.
That got me thinking about perspective.
I wrote about my friend, artist Jeffrey Hill, a few weeks ago. When he was creating a large and very detailed piece of art where I work, we had many opportunities for conversations about art, details, perspective and impressions.
One conversation about perspective stuck with me. Because of all the unique and different elements in the mural he was painting, he had to really be careful to get the perspective of each element just right. No easy or small task, I can assure you. The size of one object had to be in perspective to the size of the other objects or the painting would look off.
Standing close to the painting the perspective looks so different than it does when you take a few steps back, then a few more. The perspective changes, shifts and alters undeniably.
That made me think about perspective in writing. Am I keeping the story, and sub plots, in perspective? Are the characters in perspective? Is a minor character taking up too big of a space? Is a sub story taking on a bigger presence than the main story? Is the whole thing leading up to an ending that keeps the readers engaged right until the final word?
Sometimes, I need to take a few steps back and gaze a while, to carefully look at all the details, to make sure I’m keeping it all in perspective. That’s when you can see the flaws, point to the details that stand out too big or aren’t big enough, and move forward.
With a clear perspective.