I was scrolling through the photos on my phone when I came across this picture my four year-old son, Enrico took, unbeknownst to me. The first thing I thought when I saw this was: point of view. Before I noticed his shoes at the bottom, I knew I didn’t take the photo. There’s something “off” about the point of view. I couldn’t take this photo. I’m much taller and I would have straightened the frame.
I get a strong feeling from seeing Enrico’s point of view. I’m in his head, behind his eyes for the moment. For once, I’m not gazing on this room thinking of the tidying that’s needed. I sense his enjoyment of the rooms in the photo. Perhaps wondering what he’ll do next, when he puts down mom’s phone.
When I think of all the elements of fiction that one needs to get right to make any piece work, I’m nearly suffocating with stress and the impossibility of it all. Character, narrative drive, arc, plot, setting, language, voice and point of view, to name a few. It’s staggering. I suppose the more writing you do, the more these things happen naturally and they don’t have to be thought of with each and every sentence. But they do have to be worked on to some degree, often an extreme one that leaves me incapacitated and wanting just to retreat into great reading, or at least more caffeine.
Well, here’s to point of view. Next time I’m a bit immobilized by the work (is that what’s happening today?) I might just do a short exercise focusing on one darn thing: the skewed room with the little shoes at the bottom.