Thursday, May 10, 2007

Entry Point

The Book Club meeting was great. One of the writers was an avid and knowledgeable romance reader, so we had a lot to talk about. She'd gone to the NJ Writer's Conference once to refresh & renew & couldn't say enough nice things about the supportive atmosphere of her fellow writers, how inspiring, helpful and great the experience had been. Really nice to hear.

What did I learn? Entry Point, and how important it is in a continuity.

For example, viewers who have recently tuned into Guiding Light are fine with Josh's relationship with Cassie. Sure he went out with others in the past, but this is now & it's working. But longer term viewers simply can't see them as a valid couple. Josh and Reva, despite all their difficulties, belong together. They have a history, and for the viewers who have lived through that history, it colors their perception. Yes, and the fact that Reva is Cassie's older sister does make it difficult!

Listening to the group—comprised of people from all walks of the company, writers, marketers, human resources, public relations, business affairs, management—speaking so passionately of their characters, their choices, motives, relationships, histories, stories was fascinating. And their entry point to the ongoing story, how that impacted their point of view, their perception of reality, was really interesting.

For we all have our "entry points." In life, of course: we arrive before/after something was invented, something happened, our family moved to that house, to this country, before/after a sibling was born, and that defines our place and perception of our universe. A universe which (remarkably) existed long before our arrival and will continue on long after our departure.

And in stories, it is all about entry points. When does the slice of life the author chooses to tell begin? Who do we invest in as readers? Who do we care about? What do we believe? It's all in the timing—for it will impact our perception of truth.

I read an excerpt from a book about a woman that re-read classics she'd read when she was young. She said at 18 she had found ANNA KARENINA the most romantic book she'd ever read. But as a mother, at 40, she was appalled that Anna could have killed herself and abandoned her child. Even as a reader we have entry points and see different truths. That's true even when we read the same information.

Rereading a book isn't always about savoring favorite scenes—it can also be about re-processing information in a new way. Realizing how we've changed and aligning ourselves to a touchstone—or discovering we have moved on.

I have one school motto that is "Veritas" Truth. Hmmmm. Truth can depend on your entry point!

I prefer another of my school's mottoes: "Function in Disaster. Finish in Style."

Now that is a truth to which I can aspire.


Carole said...

Ah, Anna Karenina. As a kid I felt she was doomed. But then when one gets older one tones down one's sense of romantic extremism and realizes that Anna simply needed to snap out of it. I doubt most people in our kids generation can even understand why she killed herself. Different morality, different sense of shame, and certainly most kids would think it's "corny" to die of love.

Isabel Swift said...
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Isabel Swift said...

For sure age, experience, perspecitive, social and cultural norms and expectations play a big role in our perception. "Morality" really depends on your Entry Point. And you sound filled with that often hard to find quality: common sense!

But unfortunately, dying for love is as timeless as love itself, and nothing corny about it or love itself.

There are certainly wonderful positive stories about love, but also there can be a negative side when you see the stats on teen suicide, or the stalking behavior of the Virginia Tech student. With those situations, there are a lot of emotions at play, and love--in many forms--is often among them.

Agreed, some kids may not understand or buy into the issues Anna faced, though many do--as the issues of shame, ostracization, etc. are still alive and well in many cultures and families.