Sunday, March 22, 2009

Observing our point of view

Have you ever seen a picture of something taken obnoxiously close?  Without knowing it's an extreme close up, people come up with some crazy ideas of what it just may be a picture of.  Sometimes our own sight can be just as myopic or narrow.  This came into focus quite clearly as I began to look at writing my book.  As I shared my ideas with some friends, they came to this  understanding which was not at all what was intended in my story.  Their questions and observations as well as their own experience opened up a window that I had never seen before.

I had been a myopic writer, observing things from the view that was presently portrayed on my page.  That is how most of us live our lives, for we cannot even begin to imagine all that the general populace is thinking, feeling, and experiencing, because we have plenty of our own stimulus to sort through.  But for a writer who desires to express his or her world as it exists in their mind, it is terrible.

You need to think about possible thoughts and reasons of every character.  What happened to this man before he grumpily stomped out the door?  Is it relevant to the main story?  How does this action affect each character in the room differently?  With all these questions, you pull yourself out of your main character and begin to understand the greater scope and entirety of all that is happing in that very instant to everyone in your book.

What if we could apply this greater thinking to real life as well?    Sometimes when we are reading a book things happen that merely foreshadow future events or give you a piece to a greater puzzle.  I find when I am reading such, I don't jump to instant conclusions of what the person was doing and why, but pull away, instead conjecturing different possibilities.

What if we looked at a real-life incident in a similar way?  After all, none of us knows the "whole" story, even if we were there to witness it.  Instead of reacting to people's actions, getting offended or appalled, we could observe the action and similarly pull away, choosing how we respond on our own terms, not based on someone's actions of the moment.

I find this especially true of those we are closest to, whom we love very much.  In the end, if we keep in mind the bigger picture that we cannot see, that which is inside of them, we can learn not to simply react to something, but take it as a foreshadowing of events to come.  We can stay open and approachable, and someday, we will see the why's a little more clear and hopefully find we acted in a way that helped, not hindered the situation.