The Importance of Recognizing Subtleties

The Importance of Recognizing Subtleties

Explore the little details within a world of bold statements

During my Historical Fencing Club meetings, we frequently learn about proper form and technique when we use a foil. The goal was to look “French.” Through using delicate motions on the fingers, one can maintain control over their weapon and make attacks. It also involves having control over form from the upper body to the legs.

My fencing instructors would notice on how I collapse my arm, changing my position from an “offensive” to a “defensive” one. I also noted how my knee would lean towards the left rather than above the toe, and how I would get exhausted easily, thus throwing that form away.

Everything is based on subtleties--in which they have to be recognized in order to conquer them.


Are you a night person or a morning person?

The question is frequently used when somebody wants to know about one’s habits, and can be found in most roommate introductions. It also helps when one wants to plan out their day, so they would not make the mistake of taking 8:30am classes or working at night.

Despite knowing when I stop becoming productive at night or sleeping too late will make me even more unproductive, I don’t usually think about this question. As a college student, I assume a lot of people would be ones with the night because of the college stereotype of “partying” or “studying” hard, or because of UW’s Rick’s Ice Cream--it pulls students in like moths to a flame.

These subtleties make sense when I try to wake up, and I have to be careful because I don’t want to wake anyone else up. There are things people remind you at the beginning of the year when they talk about their cycles, but it’s something one reminds themselves when they make even the smallest move to brush teeth, change clothes, or open and close doors.

It feels a bit more ominous everyday--in which one has to recognize and exploit these quirks. It feels good until things start tumbling out of control…


Emotions wreck these subtleties and they influence our mood.

In high school, I wrote a short piece for my Fiction Writing class about running to lunch, tripping, and then scratching my skin. While everybody came over and helped me, I felt pretty lonely in those moments and wondered what everything meant if I had nobody.

On the other hand, I would meet people whom I haven’t seen for a long time, and it would lighten up my day. Just talking to them or hearing about their lives since we left school is something to behold.

I feel like my interactions with people is a bit of a subtlety in itself; I want to be around them and feel like I’m loved. I’d think it’s because I had a close family growing up, and therefore didn’t need that much attention from within the house since I could call them and they would be there.

I’d have to learn that I’m going to be lonely at times, but when the small changes in relationships happen, I’m not necessarily alone.


In the end, I’d like to think the subtleties in life are like a puzzle I'm trying to figure things out. They are like drawers which nobody notices in boxes. And, they are like nuisances which somebody thinks they’ve gotten, but appear in the wrong moments.

When people feel like the latter, it’s tempting to paint everything with a paintbrush one uses to paint a wall. However, in life, as well as policy, missing these little details can be the difference between a messed-up date, a messed-up campaign, or ending a life. One needs to get a smaller paintbrush and fill in the details and the moments in the light.

The importance of subtlety is to observe the world and to make those little corrections so one can stand up straight while fencing or paint a realistic piece of art.

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I Blame My Dad For My High Expectations

Dad, it's all your fault.

I always tell my dad that no matter who I date, he's always my number one guy. Sometimes I say it as more of a routine thing. However, the meaning behind it is all too real. For as long as I can remember my dad has been my one true love, and it's going to be hard to find someone who can top him.

My dad loves me when I am difficult. He knows how to keep the perfect distance on the days when I'm in a mood, how to hold me on the days that are tough, and how to stand by me on the days that are good.

He listens to me rant for hours over people, my days at school, or the episode of 'Grey's Anatomy' I watched that night and never once loses interest.

He picks on me about my hair, outfit, shoes, and everything else after spending hours to get ready only to end by telling me, “You look good." And I know he means it.

He holds the door for me, carries my bags for me, and always buys my food. He goes out of his way to make me smile when he sees that I'm upset. He calls me randomly during the day to see how I'm doing and how my day is going and drops everything to answer the phone when I call.

When it comes to other people, my dad has a heart of gold. He will do anything for anyone, even his worst enemy. He will smile at strangers and compliment people he barely knows. He will strike up a conversation with anyone, even if it means going way out of his way, and he will always put himself last.

My dad also knows when to give tough love. He knows how to make me respect him without having to ask for it or enforce it. He knows how to make me want to be a better person just to make him proud. He has molded me into who I am today without ever pushing me too hard. He knew the exact times I needed to be reminded who I was.

Dad, you have my respect, trust, but most of all my heart. You have impacted my life most of all, and for that, I can never repay you. Without you, I wouldn't know what I to look for when I finally begin to search for who I want to spend the rest of my life with, but it might take some time to find someone who measures up to you.

To my future husband, I'm sorry. You have some huge shoes to fill, and most of all, I hope you can cook.

Cover Image Credit: Logan Photography

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21 Quotes From Twyla Tharp's 'The Creative Habit' That Will Fuel Your Artistic Self

Use your half-baked ideas for good!


Twyla Tharp is a master dancer and choreographer. She's worked with the world's most prestigious artists to create works that will withstand the test of time. She published her book "The Creative Habit" as a viewing window for seeing into her creative process. Tharp offers both hard truths and gently encouraging words for both serious artists and everyday people just trying to expand their circle of knowledge about art. I compiled some quotations from the book that were profound, useful and to-the-point when it comes to examining artistic development.

1. "Creativity is not just for artists. It's for businesspeople looking for a new way to close a sale; it's for engineers trying to solve a problem; it's for parents who want their children to see the world in more than one way."

You get some creativity! YOU get some creativity! Everyone gets creativity!

2. "If art is the bridge between what you see in your mind and what the world sees, then skill is how you build that bridge."

3. "Everything that happens in my day is a transaction between the external world and my internal world. Everything is raw material. Everything is relevant. Everything is usable. Everything feeds into my creativity."

4. "In the end, there is no one ideal condition for creativity. What works for one person is useless for another. The only criterion is this: Make it easy on yourself. Find a working environment where the prospect of wrestling with your muse doesn't scare you, doesn't shut you down."

5. "Someone has done it before? Honey, it's all been done before. Nothing's really original. Not Homer or Shakespeare and certainly not you. Get over yourself."

Ouch. Toes stepped on.

6. "Metaphor is the lifeblood of all art, if it is not art itself. Metaphor is our vocabulary for connecting what we're experiencing to what we have experienced before."

"It's *literally* like this..."

7. "...get busy copying. Traveling the paths of greatness, even in someone else's footprints, is a vital means to acquiring skill."

Choose your muse wisely!

8. "You can't just dance or paint or write or sculpt. Those are just verbs. You need a tangible idea to get you going. The idea, however minuscule, is what turns the verb into a noun..."

9. "When you're in scratching mode, the tiniest microcell of an idea will get you going. Musicians know this because compositions rarely come to them whole and complete. They call their morsels of inspiration lines or riffs or hooks or licks. That's what they look for when they scratch for an idea."

You know you look crazy, but press on, baby ideas in hand!

10. "It doesn't matter if it's a book, magazine, newspaper, billboard, instruction manual, or cereal box -- reading generates ideas, because you're literally filling your head with ideas and letting your imagination filter them for something useful."

"Alexa, play the Reading Rainbow theme song."

11. "...there's a fine line between good planning and overplanning. You never want the planning to inhibit the natural evolution of your work."

Screw this global need for instant information. You gotta just let things run their course sometimes.

12. "Habitually creative people are, in E.B. white's phrase, 'prepared to be lucky.' You don't get lucky without preparation, and there's no sense in being prepared if you're not open to the possibility of a glorious accident. In creative endeavors luck is a skill."

Twyla Tharp is really just a more Type A version of Bob Ross.

13. "I know it's important to be prepared, but at the start of the process this type of perfectionism is more like procrastination. You've got to get in there and do."

14. "You're only kidding yourself if you put creativity before craft. Craft is where our best efforts begin. You should never worry that rote exercises aimed at developing skills will suffocate creativity."

15. "That's what the great ones do: They shelve the perfected skills for a while and concentrate on their imperfections."

16. "Without passion, all the skill in the world won't lift you above your craft. Without skill, all the passion in the world will leave you eager but floundering. combining the two is the essence of the creative life."

17. "My heroes are those who've prevailed over far greater losses than I've ever had to face."

18. "Part of the excitement of creativity is the headlong rush into action when we latch onto a new idea. Yet, in the excitement, we often forget to apply pressure to the idea, poke it, challenge it, push it around, see if it stands up. Without that challenge, you never know how far astray your assumptions may have taken you."

19. "...there's a lesson here about finding your groove. Yes, you can find it via a breakthrough in your craft. But you can also find it in other means -- in congenial material, in a perfect partner, in a favorite character or comfortable subject matter."

20. "A math professor at Williams College bases ten percent of his students' grades on failure. Mathematics is all about trying out new ideas -- new formulas, theorems, approaches -- and knowing that the vast majority of them will be dad ends. To encourage his students not to be afraid of testing their quirkiest ideas in public, he rewards rather than punishes them for coming up with wrong answers."

This approach would've been so helpful.

21. "I began as a dancer, and in those days of pain and shock I went back to where I started. Creating dance is the thing I know best. It is how I recognize myself. Even in the worst of times, such habits sustain, protect, and, in the most unlikely way, lift us up."

Take Twyla's knowledge and have fun exploring creativity in your personal life!

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