Monday, July 18, 2011

Looking good from here

Perspective is important. We learn and re-learn that as we grow older (or so I hear *smile*). Perspective helps control anxiousness. It's easier to let go of worries after stepping back and realizing that we're worked up over something that doesn't matter much in the bigger picture of our lives. Perspective is hugely important in being happy or staying happy. We can obsess of something that makes us sad or see how fortunate we are to have the good things we enjoy.

I love playing with perspective when I write. We writers call it "point of view." I've made multiple posts about pov over the years, because it's such a powerful writing tool. In addition to choosing what character's pov to write a scene from, we choose how a character sees things, how his mood affects his impressions, what his overall life perspective is. It's fun to keep those things in mind as a writer, and it's important, because perspective colors everything in fiction, just like it does in life.

This morning, I decided to go for a run. It was later than my usual summer runs. The sun was well up. It didn't cool much overnight, so it was already in the 80s, and after last night's monsoon, it was quite humid. But I felt energetic, so I took off. I knew at once it was a good decision. My stride and breathing were easy, it didn't feel all that hot, and I was enjoying myself and moving right along. I felt youthful and proud of my running pace despite the steamy morning.

About 2/3 through the run, I startled a young coyote out of a bush, and he took off down the wash I run beside, leaving me behind like I was running backward. I watched him dart ahead and, for a moment, hated him. I felt slow and labored and awkward and old. I was still running the same as before, but my perspective had changed. That change didn't last long. Seeing critters makes me happy, and we all know better than to compare our running speed to a coyote's. I mean...get real!

I reached the end of the run, shut off my watch's timer, and saw I'd run three miles at one of my faster paces, despite the steamy morning. Add "accomplished" to the list of things I felt. Cooling down on my walk home, I saw the coyote in the wash, resting in the shade of a bush, and I waved at him before I caught myself. Felt a bit silly, but that's okay. The coyote was my friend now.

So I took a run this morning--three miles and at least as many perspective changes. Can't wait to play with something similar with my characters. Or my life. The next time I feel down, I'm changing perspective.

And just because, here's a picture of one end of last night's rainbow. You can see the double rainbow if you look hard. The main rainbow was full and bright. The double only showed near each end. This picture has nothing to do with this post, other than I mentioned the monsoon last night, but there ya go.


  1. You're so right, Keith. Look for bad and you're generally find it. Look for something deeper and you're bound to come away with a changed prospective. I like that.

  2. I used to be a runner, but have never heard anyone else express the unexpected, momentary hatred that arises when something faster blows right by you when you're running your best! I had forgotten that aspect of running. Congrats on finishing the three miles in good time!

    My favorite perspective quote comes from THE ENCHIRIDION by Epictetus. The translation I have reads, "Men are disturbed not by things, but by the views which they take of things." It is not an easy task, especially when anger or sadness are involved, but changing the way we frame our thoughts changes our experience of the situation.

    Happy running & writing!


  3. Thanks for dropping by and commenting, anikocarmean. Love the quote. Perspective is one of those things that seem more important as I grow older. It's all perspective.