(Photo by Peggy J. Davenport)
Sometimes to see something clearly you have to get down at a different angle, tilt your head, squint your eye. Often this is true when writing or creating your own art,…we have to step back and look a little crazy to see where to go from there. But the same is true in other aspects of life. On relationships misunderstanding and miscommunication are often caused by not seeing the situation from another angle. Stand back, tilt your head, squint a little. And the same can be said about entire points of view and the way many live, you know, those times we sit there on our little high horses and say “I just don’t get why she can’t get her shit together” and sip away on our lattes. Perhaps we just haven’t stood back, and squinted enough. Seen things from another angle and by somebody else’s perspective. This same analogy came up in conversation about “those who talk ghetto” as it was worded (not by me) I once had the same idea of that but came around to realizing that nobody ever says that Matthew McConaughey should talk different. And frankly, I didn’t need more thought about it after that.
In my writing there are times when I have stared at a white screen and black words until I am blind. Until the white screen and black words are just that, rather than the story spinning as gold threads from my mind. And I have to take a moment and find another angle. When there is a question in the story or about the story that stumps me I must stand back and squint a little. See it in another light. As a writer writing often means finding inspiration, taking a simple walk, reading a book, watching a movie, or listening to a song. As a writer we have this perfect “movie” in our head and have to translate that to back and white, basically into an entirely different language, that will then be able to translate again back into that movie in the mind of the reader, a language and translation in which we are not always fluent. As a writer we get lost in the word count, in the time of day and in the distractions that pull us away and we must take time to stand away from what we are doing, lie on the floor, tilt our head back and stare at the ceiling…clear our mind first to see the picture buried inside. As a writer we write the story for hours and days and weeks that turn into years even, and then we must stand back and through our squinty scrunched up faces we are often likely making at our computer screens, see how the story would be if we came around at it from an entirely different direction.
I took a walk with my camera one day and heavy on my mind were the differences of the world and the fighting against those differences that covered the news. And suddenly I had angles and colors and textures popping out at me every which way, little stories and understandings and everything I came across had meaning. Then I came across this link of chain. And for me, freshly out of seven months spent in jail at the time, this one had me the most. I had been in fear every step of the way since being out and even carried the idea that jail was more comforting than the real world and I was wearing down of the fighting the defeat every day. Seeing the chain my mind opened up to the fact that even no longer wearing chains, I was allowing myself to be held by them.
I was holding myself back from potential, out of fear, out of guilt, out of carrying everybodies opinions drug behind me, weighing me down. And I wasn’t taking the opportunities I had to go where I wanted to go, do what I wanted to do. I went home that day and wrote…and wrote and wrote and have since been writing my way out and away from obligations to anybody but myself, I have released many of those weighed down chains I once drug behind me. I have let go of worrying about what others thought or seeking friendships lost and forgiveness of theirs that frankly, they didn’t deserve nor was I obligated to give. No mistakes are left unmade in this world. I had held any punishments for any of my wrong decisions and I shouldn’t have to continue being punished, most of all I shouldn’t continue punishing myself. I let go of a lot. I worked hard and with new focus. Less wasted time. I put in literal blood sweat and tears and I have a very long road to go ahead but I have at least made my way to that road from being lost in the jungle I had seemed to be in.
All because I stopped and looked at something from another angle.
Now I work hard every day and not worry about the wasted time, lost time, changes of life and all that time I shoulda coulda woulda stuff. You know the “If I had started this ten years ago, I could be somewhere by now” Well, I am here now, I could keep letting myself lose more time or start working to catch up. I instead have the idea of my life for the Now and for what I believe will be the rest of it, though life changes all the time, I put my nose to my work and focus ahead, draw from experience for my work from what is behind me but I let it push me forward rather than hold me back.
Life and world inspiration really comes from a lot of angles and through a lot of squinty eye’s and chin in hand moments (for me there is always an involved chin in hand no matter what wrinkles later in life this may cause) when I feel like I am weighed down, working hard but getting nowhere. Grinding the gears, It is time to take a walk and clear my head and look to be inspired. To be inspired IN my writing, I must look outside of it. And this will sometimes entail finding me with camera in hand, one eye closed through lens and down at odd angles to see something from a different way.
Other angles and different ways. As a writer we are found reading what we wrote out loud, hearing it sound completely different in voice than in idea of your own head. Or sipping our coffee, leaned back in our chair staring at the computer screen, making faces and even talking back at it as if in conversation. Artists often look a little crazy, and often are a little. But don’t mind us, just keep waking by.
But using this idea of viewing from different directions, angles and sometimes through that squinty eye, has helped me mature, in all types of relationships, friendships and even that with my partner. I often have to look at the two of us from another angle as I am a writer with an over-analytical mind, a brain of half engineer and story teller, and a Libra. He is an ex-Navyman, from the north, were I am from the south (that alone makes for some major differences) he is an Aquarius, yet nothing like his sign in a lot of ways, where I am very much mine. He has NO artistic mind whatsoever, and I the writer. We grew up very different in some ways, and very the alike in others. He is just getting started with his first good what can be called even ‘real’ relationship and I am at a time and age of complete comfort in being alone. In many ways on and off paper we work, and in many ways we do not. In many things we differ in view and idea and even value. Don’t even get us started on politics. Balance is created but I myself can only see that by seeking view from another direction, another angle. He is usually already there. But in all sorts of relationships with people of all types I have learned there are times to let the chains go and drop the weight, and when to value more deeply by seeking those angles.
For my work I am less oppressed, I might not always work in exactly what I want but rather than fight the direction my words flow, I let them go and see what comes out of it. As a writer writing every day is key, not everything I write will be a well baked cake but out of the practice, work, dedication, exercise, and routine of it, more well baked cakes than not will come out of the oven for it. I have learned not to fight the flow of a story but let the words play out, and then I can always rearrange what’s there but staring at a blank screen never gives me anything to work with or move around. Less fight, more digging so to speak. I have found I can take large chunks of something written and create them to another project altogether, and then easily go back and fill in the hole left. It is always easier shoveling the dirt into the hole you just dug it out from.
This angle and squinting works well for a year like 2016 with the presidential race happening. I see so many people looking at it from only one direction, often simply “I AM Republican and therefor must vote as so!” and not actually getting down, turning their head and closing one eye to maybe see it from anothers view. Learn a little something while doing so. This other angle idea helps me as a writer and in life. It is similar as stepping into another’s shoes. Seeing from all angles and sides always helped me when running and creating companies, helping me to pay a lot of bills and buy a lot of books in my time, and the owners of many companies enjoying their summer homes and more because of it. It has also gotten me through a lot of the odd times in my life. And it will move me ahead in life and in career.
And in the simplest of all explanations of other angles and squinty eyes, is that you might just find a good picture in it all.