Posts Tagged ‘Perspective’

Positive and Negative Perspectives

May 30, 2012 15 comments
Satire on false perspective, showing all of th...

Satire on false perspective, showing all of the common mistakes artists make in perspective, by Hogarth, 1753 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

People talk about attitudes every day. The subject is always revealing. This morning I came up against it yet again, but in a different way. Let me explain.

I was brushing my teeth a while ago when I heard the toilet flush. Ours is a split bath with the lavatory separate from tub and toilet. I was startled because I’d not noticed Sister moving past me, either going or coming back.

I immediately inquired if she’d done so, to which she said, “Of course!”

Color me surprised. I replied, “I must have been really focused, since I didn’t notice you walking past me.”

Her response was, “Oblivious would be a good choice of word, too.”

I’ll tell you what I told her. “I choose to take a positive stance on this one, rather than see it as negative.”

This whole exchange may sound silly, but it addresses an everyday choice we make as humans. I prefer to think of the episode as “being focused.” The opposite take is “being oblivious.” I was focused on what I was doing and what I was thinking at the time; which just happened to be what I was going to write for this blog post today.

Sister considered it as less aware. One the one hand, she’s correct. I was unaware of her presence behind me and of her proximate activity. From her perspective, what I was doing took little thought and, therefore, I should have noticed her movements.

At the same time, my perspective informs me of my concentrative ability to screen out irrelevant activity while working on the mental plane. This does not happen when I’m in unfamiliar terrain or in uncertain situations. I see it as indicative of how safe and secure I feel in my own home.

Different perspectives? Certainly. Different attitudes? Again, yes, though those attitudes are informed by expectations as well. My expectation was of safety in my home. Hers revolved around momentary awareness of my surroundings.

When we move around our world, we carry expectations, and perspectives based on them, with us and draw conclusions from those factors. Whether those conclusions are viewed as correct are, for wont of another explanation, dependent on how other individuals interpret those conclusions.

The behavior of the world’s populace is based on these factors. Until consensus of perspective arises, there can be little hope for consensus of behavior. At least, that’s how I see it.

If one small action—my brushing my teeth and not noticing someone move behind me—creates a schism between positive and negative interpretation, how much more dramatic are divisions surrounding vast actions?

Give me your thoughts on this question. How do you see perspective and its role in the daily behavior of those two-legged creatures called humans? Leave a comment below and join the discussion.

Until then, a bientot,


Whether Good or Bad or Ugly

March 9, 2012 7 comments


Everyone knows how the internet has changed the American scene, as well as that of the rest of the world.

Students aren’t at the mercy of expensive literary searches at university anymore. Research is finished in half the time and is a more efficiently selective process. High school students can reap major rewards by having so much more educational information at their fingertips than ever before.

At the same time, the average person has the ability and wherewithal to generate blogs about nearly every subject known to man.

The Good

There are people with agendas out there, and there are lovely people who’re just trying to make it from day to day, surviving the onslaught of the modern age. And within all of these people there seems to be a surging desire to communicate with others about their lives, their ideas, and their aspirations.

A wife and mother can talk about her day and her frustrations with thousands of other moms around the world and gain solace in the knowledge that she’s not alone.

Kids can vent about how angst-filled their lives are, connecting with others who also feel the need to rip everyone around them. They can also find help and counseling online that they can’t find at home for various reasons.

And while all that “help” goes on, others are providing the stimulus for some already in-crisis kids to end their existence rather than face another day in the trenches.

The Bad/Down Side

The debate rages about limits on personal exposure and personal privacy. Entire volumes have appeared on all of these topics, both online and off. Writers don’t have to go any further than their desk to have enough material to span their lifetimes. Some of it is well-done, some dreadful, but always having a point.

As a writer, I watch news feeds each day, looking for tidbits to use for stories, articles, exploration, etc. Each day I shake my head in wonderment as I peruse the latest and greatest in the world of news. I wonder if everyone has gone totally insane, considering episodes like the one on the American Airlines flight this morning from Dallas to Chicago.

Soon I come to another story about a car costing nearly $300,000 that visited Harry Potter’s world and came away with his invisibility cloak. Yes, an invisible car is cool. We’ve had those kinds of military planes for a long time, but why would a person need one? The price tag along would make the car for the wealthy only. Do those going without adequate food on the table need another reason to resent those who’re living large?

There was the one about Coke and Pepsi changing their recipes to eliminate a particular chemical. I ask myself how long they’ve known about potential problems with that chemical and why they waited for a whistle-blower to press the issue.

We are bombarded with news 24/7 on CNN and other broadcast networks. We can’t escape from it, what with all the apps for phones now and hand-held computers. Dick Tracy watches/communicators are already on the market. How much more news do we need to fill our lives to overflowing?

The Ugly

Whether that freedom for expression is good or evil really doesn’t come into question. No one can ever designate a freedom as good or evil. After all, the freedom, whatever its focus, is only a concept, an abstract.

People are the doers of good or evil. The intent of the person expressing the freedom is at issue, not the concept. That reality keeps falling through the cracks in this online world we live in today.

We can question people’s motives and actions from noon to midnight, never coming away with firm answers. The government can call actions into question and try to regulate basic freedoms with legislation that costs millions to create. In the end, though, the same problems continue as before.

One of my questions of the day is whether those in governments will ever understand that the individual citizen will always define his/her own freedoms within much broader mandates than those handed down by legislators of any kind.

History is filled with references to the causes and effects of civil unrest and revolutions, many of them having to do with squashed freedoms. Historians have written millions of volumes about events in the world and in time. Are we doomed to repeat critical events because we are so arrogant as to believe that we’re immune to them? Or, are we so dense that we can’t imagine them repeating, even when we’ve been warned about such repetitions.

The continual presence of the Internet and its sister technologies won’t go quietly into that good night. Online latitudes will push legislative buttons and government officials to a potential breaking point. The nebulous quality that rules the technology can only fuel the fire.

History teaches that major changes in technology almost always presage a major upheaval in the social structure and tends to focus its energy into violent conflict.

Question for the reader:

Is it important to pay attention to the trends social use of the internet, and if so, how much is too much regulation?

Tell me what you think.

Whether You Already Have an Angle or Not

March 8, 2012 8 comments


Starting any project can be daunting or exhilarating. If you’re interested in a topic, go for it. Do an article or a story.

Research must be done for either direction. If a story is in the offing, the research might be as simple as researching the type of setting planned for your character’s use. Locale is important and you want to get it right the first time around.

Before you put away that interest in locale, look at the broader picture of that real-world setting. Does the town have unique properties to boast? Are there any gripping crimes in its past. How about outlaws? What about famous people from the locale? Hundreds of questions could be asked about the place, each of which could give answers that could spark more new projects for your delight.

How so? Let me give you some examples pulled from the news. Remember, the audience defines the angle as much as the subject’s facts.

Each of the following headlines was found on Yahoo! News this morning. Each has the potential to provide several articles/stories for the writer who has learned to change angles when presented with a small bit of information. Addition research might be necessary, but it doesn’t have to arduous. Few common articles require in-depth digging.

     1.  “Biggest solar storm in years hits, so far so good”–This headline could lead a writer into many directions.

Article for children—how solar activity affects weather and communications on Earth.

Science Article for adults/children (depending on language and depth of information)—Explanation of how the balance of Earth’s magnetic field is affected by solar flares and storms.

Article for communications mag—what is the exact culprit within a solar storm that disrupts communication satellites?

Article for electronics mag—what steps can be taken with today’s technology to safeguard sensitive electronic equipment?

Article for news mag—how vulnerable is military electronics systems and communications to extreme solar activity and what is the likelihood of future disaster?

Science Fiction Urban Fantasy/other world stories using the scientific data about how solar flares work and what they can mean to a planet/population.

     2.  Johnny Depp’s Cool New Tonto in ‘The Lone Ranger”—this is one to have fun with.

Article for entertainment mag about Depp’s past forays into character development.

Article for teens/adults about Tonto as an icon and how it’s remembered by an entire generation of Americans

Article about the constant revising, retelling, refilming of old movies and TV shows rather than developing unique, fresh material/stories.

Use the premise of the Lone Ranger story to create a new story for children/adults. Star Wars did very well, if you’ll remember. Luke was the Lone Ranger, after all.

     3. “Can I Afford a Baby?”—This is an important consideration in today’s world, with lots of angles.

Article for parenting mag—How-to research a couple’s ability to financially survive an additional baby.

Article for pregnancy mag—How-to use current resources to ensure that planned baby gets all that it deserves after entering the world.

Article/story for children—How-to get excited about having a new baby in the house.

Article/story for children—Why family dynamics change with a new baby in the family.

YA article—the complete cost for the teen parents of a new baby.


Once the writer has basic information, she decides which market to try for. The angle of approach used for information delivery depends on the market of interest.

Finding Markets

Several lists of potential markets exist and are free most of the time online.

These are just a sampling of resources available to get a writer started in the hunt of a lifetime.

Whether the writer chooses to move outside her comfort zone depends on how much interest she has in a subject and how willing she is to take a risk. If she likes learning new things, the risk factor becomes less important. As a consequence of learning, the comfort zone begins to expand.

By shifting a subject’s emphasis, writers create angle or perspective. By deciding which aspect of a topic would make for an interesting challenge, writers build new niches for themselves in the writing world. Writing niches have always existed. Today, the niche is the writer’s safe haven.

Writing Havens

When the writer finds a special interest, regardless of subject, she has begun to form a niche. Interest requires learning, which requires more research. Research creates an expertise. Expertise creates the writer’s niche. And the niche is a place where writing can always be done in short form or book length.

Whether you start with a specific angle or not, you can learn to spread a subject over a large bit of territory. Non-fiction can become the fun place to be and one of the most lucrative in today’s publishing world. If a writer’s passion is fiction, she still needs facts to back up her story.

Do you have a niche? Do you have specific interests that can help create a niche for you? What are you waiting for?

Let the hunt begin!

Whether for Something Old or Something New

March 5, 2012 2 comments

How often do you walk into a store, a shop, or glance into a gallery for the simple purpose of seeing what’s there?

Do you explore possibilities of new interests in your shopping experience, or do you prefer to frequent the same stores each week for the types of purchases you’ve been making for years? Do you know whether another store has the same items for 25% less than where you normally shop?

If you’ve answered “No” to the above questions, you have described your buyer’s life as running in a rut.

Writers don’t necessarily fall into this category, but it’s not unheard of, and a shake-up in one’s writing life can bring about changes for better writing. Some prefer to write only children’s stories and can’t understand why they aren’t having much luck in the acceptance department. Others write only annotated non-fiction without ever bothering to explore the creative side of that genre.

Each of us has the ability to write with more depth, with a more distinctive style, and with greater range. It’s also true that the writer, like any shopper, does herself a disservice by not exploring the options available.

Locating New Possibilities

Finding new territory is scary. It requires thought, exposure, and research. A memoirist might not want to move away from those events within her life to concentrate on how those same events affected someone else. It might not occur to her that by seeing the event through someone else’s eyes for a change, she might gain a better understanding or a greater perspective, about the event and her ties to it.

This memoirist might never realize, without exploration, that fascinating characters with intriguing stories to tell live within her grasp. If she took a few of those characters, placed them within the confines of a historical framework, and wrote a fictional piece, she might realize that she has the makings of a best-selling historical novelist.

The poet who’s never done creative non-fiction or song writing has not explored the multiple uses that exist for lyricism and verse. A whole world of lyrical work is available to those who will attempt to spread wings and fly over new territory. The act of exploring new poetic forms helps to broaden one’s view of the genre. A willingness to stretch one’s writing wings can foster many rewards.

Take the writer who loves to read about amazing new developments in science and who can envision possible new uses for the information. She has an opportunity to move into speculative science writing. The road to science fiction isn’t too distant, either. The ability to extrapolate from a tiny bit of scientific knowledge to how that knowledge could change the future is at the root of an entire genre.

Finding new turf to explore is as easy for the writer as taking her fingers for a short walk through cyberspace. The internet has given us that access and ease of travel.

Shopping for New Choices in Odd Corners

Charles Dickens wrote a great little story called “The Old Curiosity Shop.” It’s believed that Dickens chose to write this story, with its fairy tale qualities, because of the early death of his young sister-in-law. That it reads like something fit for complex YA novels of today make it just as pertinent now as when it was written.

Dickens wrote about the ills of his Victorian world. Some may argue that he spent too much time fiddling with the psychology of this story and its characters, instead of using the hit-‘em-hard approach as he’d done so often before.

Perhaps, the story worked because it took a different approach to the world of the time. Here was a young female character who wished to run away from her daily life with her grandfather. They encountered both the sweet and the sour sides of life and the world. The symbolism woven into this story could as easily reflect our present world.

Dickens risked veering away from his previous comfort zone. He chose to change his approach, his character style, and how he interpreted his world. Today, his story continues to compel the reader to find the similarities between his time and the 21st Century.

Don’t Worry About Double Coupon Days

Whether writers take themselves into a small museum or gallery that they’ve not visited before, or spend a few hours with the local historical society, the change of environment can change one’s perspective. Junk shops, through which only serious antique collectors wade, can yield tremendous potential for stories and articles.

Small galleries hold treasures that can spark new writing prompts. Unusual little museums offer loads of faces, history, and unique examples of people’s lives. By taking the time to peruse these venues, the writer leaves her comfort zone long enough to browse someone else’s.

All of these types of places can take the writer into new territory for escaping the writing rut. What she chooses to do with the new data is strictly up to her. It’s true, though, that sometimes the shopper can exit the store with prime consumables without resorting to pulling out the coupon book.