Perspective Shifts

Lately — since getting on Instagram a few months ago, and spending lots more time writing fiction and communicating about writing fiction — my brain’s fallen in love with the concept of perspective.

How what you see matters.  How the perspective you see it from matters to what you see and to what you show.  How the context in which something’s created shapes it.

And when you’re playing with all that?  When you’re snapping a million photos of the same thing on your iPhone and seeing the differences in angles and light? And when you run a single shot through different filters on Instagram and see even more possibilities? When you write through the eyes of a character who is nothing like you and see what he says?  When you talk with your readers about how they see the story going?

Your brain becomes totally discombobulated.  In the best creative way.

And what you “see” is that all of this . . . ALL.  OF.  IT. . . . is changeable, malleable, open to different interpretations, in flux.

Which makes you a little less attached to outcome.  And a little woozy.


Because both of those things — detachment (the good kind; not the fake “I just don’t care” when-you-really-do-care-and-have-just-decided-to-check-out kind), and the bit-of-off-balancedness are keys to inspiration.  It’s the magical place where your brain’s constant running-of-things has been given a lovely time out . . . and other things can pop on in, instead.

What popped in this morning was the awesome realization that all the crap stories that got onto our brains’ hard-drives first — those ones from childhood — are, themselves, simply visions from a certain perspective.  For instance, from folks who raised you with all their own fears and (mis)conceptions about the way humans and the world work, which you better watch out for and guard yourself against.  Or anything else your little brain learned as it watched the world around it and tried to help you maneuver through it.  IT WAS JUST FROM A PERSPECTIVE THAT MIGHT NOT IN FACT BE VALID STILL.  Ha!  Which means that, even though those stories are in there tough as nails — because they got on the hard-drive first, and have been running things without much question for decades — you can throw them out if you want to.

Do you want to?  Do you like that perspective/vision/filter?  Or would you rather see things through a different lens entirely?  With a different focus?  Light exposure?  Color blend?  Hell — do you want to just start shooting pictures of completely different things than you’ve ever found interesting before?

And, to keep up with the perspective metaphor . . . here’s another possible way to view this problem of the old-stories-that-run-us.

Think of that magical way you feel the minute you wake up from a nightmare and are flooded with relief that “It was only a dream.”

This letting go of the stories/visions/teachings that are still holding us back is the same thing.  In both cases — the dream, and the beliefs that got on the hard-drive first — our brains have been doing something that was “running” us . . . until we “woke up” by getting the perspective that what was running us wasn’t real.  It was just a perspective.  Our brain was telling us something — vividly!! — that was not necessarily “real.”

Which gives us the perspective to see the magic:  that when we wake up and realize it was just a perspective, we can choose to keep watching the world through that one.  Or choose another.

May your perspective be amazing.   The world needs more of that.