Final Point of View (VJWC)

As a writer, I ponder point of view often, wondering which narrative voice is most effective.  For this post’s purpose, first person narrative is called for, however; I tend to favour that option in much of my writing, and yet, I tire of it, as I’m sure readers must.

Much of my poetry stems from working with dream messages, so it lends itself naturally to first person point of view, however; among the many layers of dream meanings there is also social commentary and without shifting the point of view, that layer may be missed.

Consider, for instance, the first lines of this poem currently under construction:

I am stranger,
out of sync,

appeared to be partnered,
yet  alone.

If I change the narrative from “I” to “we”, the message is altered:

We are strangers,
out of sync,
appear to be partnered
yet alone.

Love poetry is fraught with “I” and “you” and we all have read the never-ending stream of poems that ooze the blood of heartbreak. Am I the only one who becomes numb to them, wishing the author would change tracks, gain perspective, and move on?  I have the same reaction reading my early poems – yes, life was difficult, yes, I was suffering, but it is the shift that excites, inspires and evokes enthusiasm.  Getting out ourselves is key to finding a shifting point.

Okay, I’ve rambled enough.

This week, Proscenium brought our attention to two incredible murals, demonstrating how point of view alters what the audience sees.

Middleton offers us a photographic perspective of part of her world.

Stuff and What If… posted a clever poem, using first person narrative.

Sgeoil used third person point of view when considering a squirrel’s perspective.

Thank you all for participating.  See you tomorrow for a new challenge.







Point of View In Dream Study

I’m on a field trip with several classes of middle school students. We are attending a local theatre to watch a live performance.   One boy, in particular, is concerning me.  He misbehaves regularly and needs constant monitoring.  I rotate between the balcony and the main floor keeping an eye on students and come upon the boy in question in the midst of a fist fight.  I pull him off and give him a time out and go in search of the vice-prinicipal, who is also on the trip.  None of the other adults are in sight and I find them in the lounge, enjoying their time off from normal duties.  Disgusted, I rush back to find my little problem has snuck away.  

I awake from this dream feeling angry and exhausted.  “Am I the only responsible one?” is the thought running through my head.

Recording my dreams, and working with their messages, has been a practice of mine for some thirty plus years.  One way to approach dream interpretation is by considering the story from another point of view.

The Boy

We’re on this stupid field trip to see a sissy play, and I get seated next to the most annoying kid, and well, he pushes my buttons, so I hit him, and before you know it, Mrs. K comes along and ushers me out of the room and tells me to sit tight.

Mrs. K’s alright but she gets all officious like this sometimes.  I am sorry to upset her, and I plan to sit like she tells me, but as soon as she’s out of sight, I spot the exit, and well – who can blame me – I’m outta there.  I got better things to do than sit through some dumb play.

There is much about this kid that I recognize in myself.  I was quick-tempered in my youth, and known to throw a few punches.  I spent considerable time in the hall for misbehaving.  I was also known to “skip out” often.  Even as an adult, I would rather go off on my own than attend boring conference sessions.

So how does this relate to my life now?  What part of me is feeling solely responsible, and what part is feeling like that-out-of control kid?

Dreams invite us to view ourselves honestly, by presenting current issues in story form.  They help us formulate questions about our current life situations.  While the messages are layered, any interpretation that inspires growth is a good place to aim.

The rewrite of the dream draws to my attention two opposing parts of self.  What is missing is a middle ground.  That might be represented by the colleagues, who have taken a more relaxed approach.  In the dream, I find my peers in the lounge and make a snap judgment, walking away in disgust instead of voicing my need and asking for help.

I can imagine that from their point of view, anyone of them, realizing what was happening, would offer a hand.

In shifting point of view, I become aware of an old familiar pattern surfacing:  “I’m the only one who is responsible; I’ll have to do it all myself.”

A little less self-righteousness and a little more asking for what I need is called for, it seems.

(V.J.’s challenge of the week is point of view.)


When We Meet In Heaven, Daughter (A Response)

I’ll be waiting for you in Heaven, daughter,
although the roles we played in life
have no bearing here – only souls
congregating in spiritual reflection.

Still the ties that bound us will be vivid,
your mind, no doubt reeling in transition,
the turmoil of earthly incarnation
still buzzing in emotional swirls.

I’ve had the benefit of time, to consider
the limitations that defined us –
the depth of our individual despair,
how our dramas intertwined, disconnected

I know that I have caused you pain,
that I must bear the certainty of your rage
and I am ready… hopeful…have faith
that the essence of your being will embrace

forgiveness, invite transformation –
even in life you sought enlightenment,
did not shut the door on me, though
you could have…had every reason…

My fellow soul traveller, my heart’s kin –
the door is open, and I am ready to receive
all that you have to share, all that you are –
that we may rise together, into salvation.

(V.J.’s Weekly Challenge is point of view.  On my other blog, today, I posted a poem to my father, entitled “When We Meet In Heaven, Dad.” I decided to write a response to that poem from my father’s point of view.)

V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #11: Point of View

We recently attended a dramatic version of To Kill a Mockingbird in Stratford, Ontario.  Written by Harper Lee in the late 1950’s, this has been one of my all time favourite reads. Although some of the language is antiquated and no longer acceptable, the themes of the novel are timeless.  Atticus Finch, the patriarch extraordinaire of the story, is a man directed by his moral compass, and his willingness to put compassion for others above the social dictates.

This week’s challenge is inspired by the spirit of Atticus Finch:  point of view.


At the end of To Kill a Mockingbird, Jean-Louise  stands on the Radley porch and views her neighbourhood from Boo’s point of view – a moment of revelation for the young Scout.

“I turned to go home. Street lights winked down the street all the way to town.  I had never seen our neighborhood from this angle.”

This week, let’s focus on point of view, challenging ourselves to “walk in (someone else’s) skin” or at the very least, to see something from a new perspective.

Ideas include, but are not limited to:

*  Photographing a scene from a new viewpoint, i.e. from a child’s sight line, or that of a     pet.

*  Re-writing a piece from a different point of view.  For example, if a piece is written in first person narrative, try switching it to third person, or better yet, switch narrators.

*  Take a character from a dream, and write re-tell the dream story through their point of view.

*  Heard something interesting in the news – try writing about it from the victim (or perpetrator’s) point of view.

Be creative, have fun, and as always, I look forward to your responses.

To participate:

  1.  Publish a post on your own blog.
  2. Create a link back to this post, or leave a link in the comments.
  3. Be sure to visit other participant’s contributions and comment to keep the community growing.