My best time of day is early morning as the sun is rising. The air is damp, the birds are beginning to sing, and the clouds have pink edges. Everything is renewed, and I have an optimistic perspective for the day. Today, as usual, I’m having coffee on the patio and contemplating God’s Word when movement among the heather bushes beneath the bottle brush tree attracts my attention. A rabbit!
Cute right? Not!
My husband coos, “We have a new pet.”
I complain, “He will probably eat our flowers.”
Interesting. We each spoke from our personal perspective. Same scene, same bunny, but different responses. It suggests something about our personalities. Maybe, maybe not, but it makes the story more interesting. In writing, your perspective can reveal something of your story or nature or just where you are standing that day. It can powerfully charge your message and challenge your reader to see things differently.
Different views of the same reality
As an art major, I studied perspective. In a drawing or painting, the underlying lines of perspective provide the proper shape, proportion, and position to make things appear three dimensional and realistic. Usually one-point perspective is taught first where you are at the center of the picture and the vanishing point is right in front of you. Much more interesting is two-point perspective as seen in the picture at the right. There are two vanishing points one at each side of the picture revealing more dimension. Imagine yourself standing in different locations in this picture, you’d have an altered view of the very same reality. In writing editorials, offering differing points of view can bring balance and validity to your message. In your stories, providing differing points of view can add interest and dimension to your characters.
How do you see it?
In art, writing, and life, different perspectives can challenge us to see things differently. Where you position yourself affects how you see reality. For example, imagine the perspective picture as a city scene and you are standing in front of a tall building, how do you see it? Is it an obstacle blocking your view of what’s ahead? Or is it an opportunity to go up to the top floor and see much further than you would from the ground? If you feel stuck right now, try looking at your circumstance from a different position.
Two-point perspective also reminds us that there are two sides to an argument. You don’t have to agree with the other person but viewing things from their position will give you insights into their backstory. Ordinarily, I’m more tenderhearted about bunnies, but my response was provoked by the amount of work I had put into nurturing those flowers and plants and uncharacteristically, I was already planning that rabbit’s demise. It is a reminder that our beliefs, personality, and life experiences are like the hidden perspective guidelines that shape how we respond to what we see. Try tracing these out in your next conversation.
Write what you see
In my first writing workshop, I was told: “Write what you know.” In other words, tell the stories that are from your own experience because they will be credible. I say, don’t stay stuck in your one-point perspective where the world centers on you, but add dimension to your life by standing in different positions and tell what you learn. By the way, the bunny is fine. I decided he could be fun to have around. Keep writing my friend!
“How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:4-5