Today is Tuesday, August 13, 2013.
The other day at my writers’ meeting, the writing prompt was to write two short scenes of the same event, each with a different person’s point of view. Here are my paragraphs:
1. Maureen’s point of view:
Maureeen showed off her engagement diamond to her girlfriends sitting around the table. Everyone oohed and aahed over the ring, expressing congratulations and well wishes for her future. Sharon asked the inevitable question: “So, when are you two thinking of tying the knot? ”
Maureen knew she must be blushing because her face felt hot. Paul had sworn her to secrecy about the diagnosis. They planned to marry as soon as possible, quietly, and there would be no big wedding.
2. Sharon’s point of view:
Maureen showed off her engagement diamond to the girls sitting around the table and graciously accepted the well wishes and congratulations of her friends. Sharon was still feeling a little jealous, although she and Paul had broken up two years ago. She’d never quite understood why Paul lost interest in her and fell for Maureen, instead.
“So, when are you two thinking of tying the knot?” she asked, imagining the elaborate wedding that Maureen’s parents would throw for their daughter. Maureen blushed, and Sharon wondered why she seemed reluctant to answer such a simple question.
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This was a great writing exercise that took only about 15 minutes. It just points up the truism that no matter what happens when two or more people are present, everyone will remember the event a little differently, because an event is not just the location, the physical movements of the people involved, and the actual words said. Every event also involves our inner dialogue, our memories of the past which impact the present moment, and our feelings about what is happening. No matter how many witness there are to any event, no two people will tell the same story.
If we keep this concept in mind, perhaps it will be easier to remind ourselves that our version of events is not the only one. It reduces the arrogance of thinking that our point of view is the only one that matters, and brings a little humility to bear. 🙂