A Few Words on P.O.V., Scotch, and The Cone of Shame

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By the time you read this, I’ll be moving.  I’m leaving my sweet, small, college and VERY Southern town (affectionately and derisively called Mayberry, PhD) in order to return to the Metro DC area, where I have friends, family, and an on-going love/hate relationship with its pretentions of being a city.  ( Like Eloise, I am a “city child” and, as a born and bred New Yorker, I see the truth in the writer Colson Whitehead’s observation that being born in NY ruins you for anywhere else.)

I left DC four plus years ago with a husband and a cat and I will return to it without the husband, but with a dog and that same cat.  The more things change, the more things stay the same.  That sounds better in French, but then, what doesn’t?

Because of the move, scheduled to take place just when my blog turn comes up, I am writing this early (mid October) when I am particularly interested in how writing does and doesn’t change.

VCFA faculty members, I am told, often go in and out of interests in and obsessions with various aspects of craft.  No me.  I am a strict, straight-up Detail and Point of View kind of writer, teacher, and reader.   P.O.V has SO much power.  It’s like scotch on a cold, bleak night.  Used wisely, scotch can infuse the night with a warm and golden haze.  Used without care, that same scotch can put you into a tailspin of many cold, bleak nights.

To be less dramatic and lush-like about it, consider what would happen if we were to change the pronoun in the first sentence of this post’s second paragraph. Switch from ‘I’ to ‘She’ and we’d move from a confessional, almost over-sharing tone to one that tells us a series of facts in a boring manner that reveal very little.  Who tells the story (or the series of facts struggling to become a story) changes the very nature of what is told.

As you move into your 4th and 5th packets (or drafts!) ask yourself who is narrating and why.  The words “Cone of Shame” are in the post title simply to justify the photograph of the dog and cat who are coming with me to DC (the dog had, in mid- October, some surgery and had to wear the cone quite a bit).

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “A Few Words on P.O.V., Scotch, and The Cone of Shame

  1. Garret, can I borrow your title for my next blog entry? I LOVE it! Oh, and you can use that confessional, almost over-sharing tone anytime — love that, too!

  2. Thank you for these wise and playful words, Garret, and hope you and your critters are now cozily ensconced in the nation’s capital!

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