When people say it’s the small things that matter, I don’t think they’re wrong. The big picture matters to an extent, but when you really think about it, without the little things, there would be no big picture.
When you think of your childhood it’s usually in bits and pieces. You don’t remember every single minute. You remember that day at the park. You remember that rainy day when you had to stay inside. Maybe you think of that one time your parent beat you so bad it was hard to move. Maybe you think about that night when he or she tucked you into bed and made you giggle before kissing you goodnight. Whatever the memories that come to mind, they are bits and pieces that, when put together, make up the picture of how you feel about your childhood.
When you picture people of your past, do you remember them in their entirety or do you remember the specifics; A warm smile, calloused hands, dark eyes, a gruff voice? The memories are usually the parts of them that affected you the most. It’s the details and how they made you feel that shape your memory of them.
When you think of the places you’ve been, every single detail is not defined. When you think of that unusual building from ten years ago you don’t remember everything. You remember the details you chose to focus on. You remember the details that left an impression.
I like macro photography because it focuses on the tiny details that people tend to overlook. Everyone gets so caught up in the bouquet that they forget to study the petals. Take a moment to stop and think about someone from your past that you were fond of. Don’t think about their person as a whole, but focus in on something small, something that makes you smile.
For me it’s something as small as the shake of his hand while playing cards. It’s her soft, plump, and wrinkled cheek against mine. It’s the energetic smile that reaches his eyes more than his mouth. It’s the feel of her hair in my hands for the last time.
The small things in life are beautiful. They are the pieces that make us what we are. They are the cornerstone of our memories; whether we realize it or not.
A last note on this: it can help when writing characters. Adding small details (maybe even based on people in your life) can make them come more alive for the reader. I’ve found that when I’m reading a book and the author includes a small detail about their character, the character sticks in my mind more.