When I start a novel, I think a lot about point of view before I ever lay finger to keyboard. Should I write the story I want to tell in first person or in third person POV? Each has advantages and disadvantages. The breakout session is available at pretty much any writing conference.
I often make a choice to write it one way, then end up rewriting it the second way, which sucks and consumes about an extra year. The reason, though, is that perspective is key to the story, and it’s not always obvious which is the best perspective to choose. Which view does the story demand?
Such is the truth in life. We have to think about how we want to look at things.
Things happen. People we love die. Pets we love die. People we love suffer. We suffer. Markets go crazy for this reason or that. We worry if we’ll have enough…
Enough love. Enough life. Enough time. Enough friends. Enough house. Enough money. Enough.
We attended a funeral for one of my best friend’s from high school yesterday whose wife died recently. I had been disconnected from him for the past few years, but wanted to support him, and my mom read about her passing in the obits which (disturbingly) she reads daily.
She was 51. I’m 51. She grew up near Salinas. I was born in Salinas. Even though I didn’t know her very well, it was really the first time a peer so close in age went so quickly. I told my husband on the way to the service that my perspective on death is so different than most other people I know and it makes me stop and wonder why…how it got that way.
When someone dies, the first thing I feel is gratitude for any time I might have had with that person. Every person I meet (even the ones that bug me) are such a unique representation of Spirit that I feel I could spend hours in their back story, learning the nuances of who they are and what made them that way. The next feeling I have is excitement for them about their next experience. I suppose that comes from not believing that death is the end, or that a future is bound by this or that religious restriction. It’s my perspective. This POV is not one I sit around and convert other people to or demand is right at cocktail parties. It’s just how I see things.
The beautiful thing is everybody sees things differently. Let’s take religions. There are so many gems to be taken from the various traditions and to be enjoyed by all. In Thich Nat Han’s “Roots of Peace” documentary, he compares religions to fruits in the orchard and how we can enjoy all of them. The apple does not get jealous of tasting the mango or the banana.
I’ve always believed that. I love the fact that each person can have such different experience, such different perspective, and that we can share with each other what those are. I believe how each person reacts to that exchange really colors the life they will lead.
Let’s take the weather. It’s changing now, the hot days of summer giving way to Autumn. People complain all summer long about the heat, but I guarantee you in no time someone will say, “I’m ready for summer” especially if it starts to rain for more than two days in a row. But it really is always perfect, if you adjust your perspective. It depends on you.
This past weekend, my husband and I took our new puppy to a Redding landmark (the Sundial Bridge) which is really the center of many controversial perspectives. The reason for that is it cost a bunch of money in a town that isn’t rolling in the dough and though funded by private foundations, was thought to be a waste. Perspective number one.
But as we walked our 4 month old little guy across the breathtaking Sacramento River, watching the geese float down and fly over early morning fishing boats as they scaled the river for salmon…as we stopped and talked to friendly locals and out-of-towners alike, bonding over our love of just taking a simple walk with a pet and soaking up the shifting clouds…working our way down the hill to the river’s edge and watching our pup frolic in the cold Sacramento…and wandering through the paths of plants and trees to the Children’s Garden…
I thought, This is such a good reason to come to Earth. Just to soak up these simple, perfect moments. And then, How easy it is to miss these moments, communing with nature and life, because we’re so busy doing this or that or the other not as important thing or worrying about what was or what is to come…
We walked up a path to a water feature and watched Kai just soak up the moment. We laughed at his ability to play and just be present From his perspective, nothing was better than that moment. There was no market crashing in China, no novel to finish and sell, no house to clean, or bill to pay, or plan to re-evaluate, or future to worry about, or funeral to think about, or religion –anything. From his perspective, it was all about the feel of the froth on his tongue and cold water on his belly. That’s all that mattered.
We can learn so much from our pets if we just listen.