Perspective

Perspective is perhaps the greatest problem I see in most writers these days. That is a bit misleading because it isn’t the perspective of their writing that is at fault; no, rather, it is that so many writers suffer from the generational curse of being self-focused — not necessarily self-centered though it does seem to often follow. They simply don’t know how to look outside themselves anymore.

To this end, there seems to be a plethora of writing bereft of circumambient detail. What I mean is that too often modern writers cannot wear the bark of the tree nor the green of its leaves. They cannot imagine themselves as anything other than themselves.

A tree is just a tree. A forest is just a number of them. A park is just an encircling of forest.

Writers cannot see only what is. They must see what can be. What cannot be.

The tree is suddenly a bolt of lightning that erupted from the ground skyward and was petrified. The forest is a gathering of giants, plotting an attack on the last bastion of mankind. The park is home to a rare breed of turtle whose shells have evolved to look like trees to camouflage them from predators, and, due to this, the forest is viewed as being magical because the trails are ever changing.

None of that is good writing per se. I guess what ends up in short supply when perspective is lacking are ideas. Ideas are the cornerstones to writing and, without them, it doesn’t matter how lovely the words are, how grammatically correct it is, how innovative the style. It just turns out boring.

An old adage says to write what you know. And, to some extent, all writers do. But it is in twisting the world, seeing it in ways unreal, and finding our imagination in what we do know that writers find magic.

Writers are not so much artists to me. Writers are sorcerers and sorceresses who take the elements of the world that everyone knows and transmute them into enchantments and incantations, cast illusions over the eyes of the reader so that they may see the world as the writer sees it. If the world looks no different than the illusion, is it a spell worth casting?

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