Sunday, February 12, 2012


I despise confrontation. It makes me incredibly uncomfortable and the anxiety makes me forget all of my good points. Rarely do two people get into those situations prepared to listen to what the other person is saying. It makes me crazy because I do listen. I do consider the other person's position. Partly because I grew up behaving like Switzerland, always neutral. I didn't pick sides in debates. Don't get me wrong, I had my own opinions. In fact, my dad and I would get into yelling matches about a variety of subjects. I lost all perspective when he opened his mouth.

It's that very dichotomy that gives depth to my writing. Unless I'm writing first person, there's always more than one perspective to every scene. I may not write from both points-of-view but I definitely need to know and feel what each character believes to be true. The more passionate they are, the more committed the arguments and the decreased possibility they are listening to each other.

The same is true for three dimensional human beings who live and breathe with contradictions. There are more sides to a story than you can ever possibly imagine. There are triggers and flashbacks, misunderstandings and focus issues. Sometimes there are health considerations as well. No matter what you believe otherwise, unless you authored all of the players (and sometimes not even then) you have little idea all that is at play in any given scene.

I listen to my dad now, even when he says something I find abhorrent. His life experience is so different from mine. On a couple of subjects he used to believe exactly what I do. Then he lived inside a situation that showed him three different points-of-view. How all the players handled things changed his belief system. I'm being deliberately vague. It's a volatile political debate within these four walls, never mind out in the rest of the world. My point is more about how we shape our views than the specific detail of that view. I still don't agree with him but we don't fight about it anymore. I understand his point-of-view, and respect it.

I imagine all of that comes across in my writing. I take characters who are polar opposites, throw them into situations and circumstances in which they rely on each other in order to survive so that in the end they have a better understanding of each other. I don't know that they change their basic differences so much as they focus on their commonalities.

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