Learning my style

In the last few days, I’ve come to realize something about my writing. Not just about my style, but about my reason for telling stories at all. This might sound like a great big no-brainer (insert zombie joke here; it is October, after all,) but I have in fact only just noticed that my writing focuses quite a lot on my fascination with the differences between people’s perspectives. Really the fact that people can never be seeing what someone else is, and how that impacts human interaction in all its permutations. I also seem to enjoy exploring how screwy/ amusing/ dire/ amazing things can get when two people who assume their perspectives have to be so different are actually perceiving something closer to the same reality than either one could imagine. But mainly it seems I’m constantly worrying the bone of the un-knowable-ness of the Other.

The very structure of my writing is defined by this fascination — I’ve never been comfortable with third-person omniscient point-of-view, the closest I can get to that with a natural tone of voice being limited omniscient. As in, I can only tell the story believably while looking into one person’s head at a time. And my narrative style puts emphasis on showing that there are vast differences between two or more characters’ perceptions of the same situation. It’s not just the plot itself I’m ever concerned with, but more the fact that the story is not the same story to everyone involved. That seems to be my general ongoing plot as a storyteller.

I’ve known this intuitively, I think, for years. This is just the first time it has ever shown me its face in a way I could recognize. And I all I can really say about it is, “…huh.”

It’s not about inclusion, really

Today’s philosophical question is about exclusion and why we human beings are so big on it. This is brought about by the recent search I’ve been doing for local writers’ groups, many of which are closed and aggressively cliquish.

Now, I’m not saying I don’t understand the desire to have some control over which people we’re surrounded by. I mean that’s just natural. Sensible. Safe. But this very quickly becomes a matter of status — assigning value to the groups to which we belong, and thereby confirming our own value. From there it’s no longer about inclusion — no longer about whom we are spending our time with — but instead the real issue becomes exclusion. In our minds we become more cool, smart, powerful, rich, talented, special, not because of the company we keep, but because of that heady option to turn others away.

This is a terrible thing we do to each other. I know it’s cliché and all, but it’s really not necessary to tear others down in order to make ourselves feel better. So why do we do it?

And I promise, this is not just me being bitter that the group I want to join won’t let me in. Not just.