In the last post I focused on words and the power this individual language item has. But I’ve been thinking since then about the times when we focus too much on the details; we become too preoccupied with the finer details rather than seeing the bigger picture.

A few months ago I went to the theatre to see Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with James Earl Jones and Phylicia Rashad. All the publicity I’d read had centred on it being an all-black production and I was hoping this wouldn’t be the focus of the Q&A I was able to sit in afterwards. Most of the questions were though. People were too bogged down in the not so important fact of colour and missing out on other aspects of this fabulous version. I had always focused on the family being white red-necked Americans (I don’t think I’m alone). Taking this out of the equation made it much easier for me to see the theme of family and the relationships between each of the characters, each of them disappointed with the path their life had taken them. I was able to more easily look at the play as a whole rather than at the sum of its individual parts.

I’m not saying that details aren’t important, in fact, attention to detail is essential in almost everything we do. However, it can’t be at the expense of the whole. You can examine and appreciate the individual brush strokes of a masterpiece, the thickness of the paint on the canvas and the techniques the artist has used, but you have to step back to understand and value how each of those brushstrokes works together to create the whole painting.