“Beauty” is in the eye of the beholder—this saying is hard to dispute, most everyone agrees, and I’ll go it a step further and say “blindness” is in the eye of the beholder. All too often we view others and our surroundings with a blind eye. We have preconceived ideas about people and things making it difficult to lay our assumptions aside to look at matters in a different light. Don’t be blind to possibilities.
It is most probable that the inner makeup of your characters has greater depth and complexity than you realize or give them credit for. The particulars you take in at first glance or the filter through which you view people you know intimately is riddled with blind spots. To write well, look at everyone you include in your stories as individuals unto themselves. Get into the heart of whom they are, without painting them into a box you thought fitting. Take off the blinders and look at the potential to incorporate a wider, more robust view of your characters while writing memoir.
When you search for the inner framework of characters (for example, when writing the Mother Memoir it would be mom’s essential spirit you’re out to discover), you can perceive their character in your mind’s eye, you can sense them, but most importantly, you can decide to let go your well-formed assumptions about them and let full, undistorted sight take over from a new, more inclusive vantage point.
To heighten understanding through action, take some time at this very moment to complete the short writing lesson I’ve outlined below. In this exercise you will tap into your memory bank and find a highly impactful incident in which the personal interaction you exchanged with someone is palpable. This is a practice designed to get you working your way out of “not seeing”—remember blindness is truly in the eye of the beholder.
- Bring the impactful incident into focus and write several paragraphs describing the emotional details of this incident as seen through your mind’s eye—just like you usually do.
- Next, stand firmly in the other person’s shoes and write a few more paragraphs from his or her specific vantage point—something you probably aren’t used to doing.
- Now, merge the emotional details you envisioned the other person experienced together with your perceptions and write a little more.
Were new vistas opened? Were you surprised by what you saw? Has the context of your well-formed picture of what occurred in this incident changed? Is your eye now beholding new shades of light and focus, previously not seen or related to? Now, go write like you’ve never written before.
Become a TellTale Soul by writing your Mother Memoir with help from The Story Woman.