Monday, September 12, 2016

Mondays: Shift: Seeing Things in a New Perspective


My mom had an old book of puzzles. I loved it. My favorite puzzles were simple sketches that suggested something. What do you think the above image is?

Is it a bear climbing a tree? A giraffe walking by your window? A snake slithering across your beach towel?

With each question, your eyes shift to see the pattern in a new way. This is important for writers.

My mom could see beyond the obvious, and helped me look at the bigger picture. As a young mother rushed in front of us in the grocery line, mom would say, “She needs to get her back home for baby’s nap.” That might not have been true, but mom always took a step back to see a bigger idea and a step into the shoes of others.

We need to step around to see. Turn things around, and get a different view. Try to think from another’s perspective. Believe in your own!

So on Mondays, try something different. Sit in a different place on the bus or in your classroom or at lunch. Start a conversation with someone new. Really listen to what they say and understand their point of view.

Consider the main character of your favorite movie or book. Put them into another movie or book. Write a scene of the two main characters talking. What would they discuss? plan? do?

Be the characters, not yourself. Adopt their persona, with all their problems and personality traits. Really. What would the really discuss?

Here's a poem where the author took on the persona of Spiderman, except they added a new detail: Spiderman has a speech problem.




How did the author explain Spiderman?
How did the speech change how you feel about Spiderman?
What's the same, but what's different?
Do you hear his voice? his personality? a little tinge of sadness?

Choose your own superhero. Think about what he says and does. Write your poem. Did you add something that others might not know about his personality? What persona did you take?

These ideas shift your mind into another person or character, and then ask you to insert another difference to change the persona even more. Get into the character's personality so you can write as if you are that persona, like an actor would, with that voice.

Another way to shift perspectives is to take the view of another part of the scene. Say you're eating Cheerios.  What if you were the Cheerios in the box, poured out, milk added, and then that spoon? Be the Cheerios.

Or be your shoe!

Here's a reading by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater called "Waiting Room Fish"

You can imagine the fish looking back at you while you wait in the doctor's office: "We peek between the plastic plants." You hear the timid and patient voice of fish tank fish.

Go ahead -- be something different, a shift in perspective and write a story or poem. Let their voice shine through.