Writing With Perspective

My favorite aspect of writing (at least at this moment) is the ability to explore perspective. In most of the novels I have written, I find myself attracted to writing with multiple viewpoints, and I enjoy the exploration I find as a writer through the eyes of varied perspectives.

In fact, the novel I began earlier this year is my first experience writing from one perspective (in first-person). I’m learning to appreciate the mystery of knowing events through writing with one solitary set of eyes. An intimacy occurs there that I’m not sure I nurture as much when I am bouncing back and forth between character perspectives. I’m waiting to see if I will need to write from another perspective at some point for background or research purposes. Currently, though, I’m quite enamored of exploring life through the eyes of my main character.

I continue to find the study of perspective helpful beyond the work of writing, though. I try to see various events from differing vantage points. I delve into several sides of a debate or issue. I naturally find myself seeing value within multiple (and, at times, seemingly contradictory) philosophies.

I recall a drafting class I took in high school where I was required to draw a four-point perspective elevation of a house I designed. I loved the depth and energy and life the elevation took on through multiple perspectives.

While reading, I adored the journey and exploration through books like The House Girl, The Help, and even the final volume of the Divergent series Allegiant for the opportunity to read about events through the eyes of more than one character.

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What do you think about multiple perspectives in writing? In reading? In life? Do you prefer one viewpoint or to experience through varied perspectives? Why?

Thank…Whom?

A while ago, I was speaking to a woman of great influence in my life.  During the brief conversation, she asked me if I would be willing to write a letter of gratitude.

Sure, I thought.  How hard could that be?  I am blessed by many people who perform kind and generous acts toward my family and toward me personally.  I could just pick one individual and write the letter.  Actually, the most difficult part might be to find some stationary…(and don’t get me started on the lost art of writing letters…that post will have to wait for another day).

Then, she finished her thought (yes, I do sometimes interrupt conversation with my own thoughts) by saying, “to yourself.”

UGH.

A letter of gratitude…to myself?  Really?  What could I possibly thank myself for doing?  Keeping my cool when my kiddo punched me unintentionally the other day?  Cooking dinner?  Nah.  That’s just stuff that goes along with life, right?

Well, I let the thought sit in my brain for a while (haunt my brain, infect my mind, are you getting the picture?).  I didn’t know what I would write–and I had no stationary to speak of, anyway–but while I was writing in my journal a few days later, I decided that maybe I could do some “pre-writing” exercises for this letter…like, I could probably manage a few things I was thankful to myself for…maybe in bulleted form.  Sure.  I could start there.  At first, the bullets came slowly…but as I continued to think of positive aspects of my personality, talents I have worked to develop, and acts of kindness I perform, my list began to flow.

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Along with a few other changes I’ve been making in my life related to positivity, exercise, outlook, and cultivating hope, I will say that writing a “letter” (list) of thanks to myself has allowed me a shift in perspective.  I am excited for the opportunity to look with gratitude toward the activities I accomplish and the work I am doing…and to recognize these aspects of my existence with thanks.

So, will you write a letter of gratitude to yourself? Will the task be an easy or challenging one for you? As I’m writing this, I’m wondering if I might extend this invitation to my family and see how they react to the assignment.

And, because you may find yourself in need of some musical inspiration, here’s Natalie Merchant with a couple of amazing songs this fine Friday! (Two versions of her “Kind and Generous” and one “These Are Days” with 10,000 Maniacs–enjoy!) 🙂