Hello and welcome back to my humble meta-world.
I apologize for the long break since the last post. It’s not that I didn’t have anything to write, quite the opposite… I had tons of writing to do on my novel…Plus I’m still a little sick. And I can throw in a couple of less convincing excuses if you twist my arm But last night, as I was unable to sleep, I watched the Pearl Jam Twenty movie (It’s on Netflix people! – No excuses not to watch!)
In the movie, besides all the goodies (and they were plenty) and – for people my age – the inevitable trip down memory lane, there was of course a mixture of the sometime adverse reactions society exhibited to the whole Seattle rock scene.
The most memorable part for me in that regard was the peppering of what seemed like an interview that took place in the 90s with some OLD guy. This interview was held apparently in close proximity to the death of one Kurt Cobain.
I’m not going to quote that OLD man word by word but he was describing a “conversation” (I’m sure that’s what he perceived that to be) he had with a young girl standing outside Kurt’s house. He listened to her saying that Kurt (and obviously other musicians) helped the teens deal with their difficulties and feelings. While saying that, he nearly rolled his eyes into his skull and proceeded to tell her through the camera that he would gladly exchange her “difficulties” (Quotes added to show the condescension in his pronunciation of this word) for his age!
The only thing he needed to add at the end of that line was a “Ha!”
Now I can’t commit, but I’m pretty sure that after that line the movie cut to Eddie Vedder’s face which were shaking slowly as if saying “What an OLD FART!”
It took me almost 350 words to get to where I REALLY wanted.
You see, I was one of these people, who were elevated by the Seattle scene. Nirvana being my favorite food for the soul at the time, along with Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden and their long-haired friends were a great outlet to my otherwise pessimistic existence.
Of course I wasn’t suicidal. I wasn’t walking around crying unless Eddie was reminding me we’re still alive. But god dammit, I was YOUNG! and the world was UNFAIR! and our parents didn’t UNDERSTAND! and the government was CORRUPTED! and pop singers were making a killing and no one wanted to hear about rock anymore. Not the girls at least… So really, what reason was there to live?
And for a stretch of about 4 years I was happy in a black and tartan kind of way. Until Kurt had to blow his head off… that was a dark and stormy night where I lived. That was the end of music. That was the death of a prophet. How can you LIVE after that?
So I sit here last night watching this OLD FART telling… well, telling ME in a way, that he would exchange all of these negative feelings for our age?
Then it hit the current me square in the face!
Here is the perfect way to explain point of view. Go ahead, ask me. What is point of view (POV from now on)?
POV is what (AND HOW) your character observes. Let’s say you write a book from a 1st person’s POV. What can you see? What do you know about it? How do you feel about it?
Are you the girl, standing outside Kurt Cobain’s house crying? What do you see? How do you feel?
Are you that OLD condescending FART talking down to that girl? what do you see? How do you feel?
You see, sometimes you would see different things, because your point of view is different, you look from a different angle. You might be in a different geographical location. or different time.
Yet you might be looking at the exact same thing. But since you are looking at that thing from YOUR POV, you would see/feel it differently to someone else’s.
That young girl saw that Kurt died and broke down. Her world was shaken.
The OLD man saw that some hippy blew his head off, shrugged and probably said “Good riddance”.
I will not go deeper now into the intricate rules of POV. There are some pretty clear guidelines around this, and all of them have to do with not confusing your reader. I might come back to this at a later point in time.
I will however say this – As a guy who’s rapidly getting OLD, I keep thinking about perspective. To me age equals perspective. Or at least it should.
I always looked at my parents and deep inside admitted that they have more perspective than I do because of their years, experiences and the wisdom to use these to understand the world a little better. My folks had the wisdom to let me go through all of these phases without being overly judgmental about it.
That OLD guy from the Pearl Jam movie? Well, his POV is definitely different. from my own POV, he’s just an old and angry person, who forgot what it feels like to have your dreams shattered for the first time.
It’s all about POV.