Perspective is a neat word because of its nebulous qualities. It encapsulates so much. When you're young you lack it. You gain it as you mature and sometimes your perspective just needs an adjustment (this Saturday is the third official Jimmy Buffet day here in Jacksonville!).
Agent Nathan Bransford wrote a very honest post yesterday on some of the heart-breaking rejections he must make on all manner of non-fiction projects. He concludes by delivering a hard truth--not every person is wired to write a book. And on the other side of that coin, not every person has a compelling story to tell about himself or herself.
Or even a factually accurate one (ie. James Frey).
It's a simple truth that not everyone has lived a life (or been raised in a family) that would make a story New York publishers salivate over. For some, this might be a sad realization. For others, it might be a validation that their experiences (those things that shape our perspective) were, on the whole, happy and healthy.
I fall into this second camp. I have a wonderfully supportive family filled with creative, talented people. But not a one of us has worked for the circus. My parents never smacked each other around. Neither of my sisters dropped out of school to follow, respectively, the New Kids on the Block or the Backstreet Boys on their world tours.
I spent my childhood in amazing places (Colorado and Oregon) and grew up in the long shadow of a very loving marriage. My parents, in a lot of respects, are my heroes. The things I enjoyed growing up--movies, the outdoors, books, folklore, food, sports and time with friends and family--are the things I enjoy now.
Would New York buy that story? Hell no. Will I one day write it? Hell yes, because I want my kids to know about me and I want my folks and sisters to see how thankful I am for them.
I think each of our lives represents a tremendous narrative--a miracle synthesis of choice and fate; personality and biology. Just because New York won't come calling doesn't mean that the story shouldn't be told.
And about my background? None of it amounts to a hill of beans when it comes to the type of fiction I write. Thankfully we live in a place where our ideas govern our content, and we are free to write whatever we please.
And on that note, I think it's time to return to my short story on "thinnies."
Oh, yeah. Writing post: I think it's difficult to write fiction in the second person perspective.