POV Love: it’s in the details

Almost two weeks ago I read my monologue in class and Keith Abbott made the comment, You’ll have to learn how to be more selective about details. What would the narrator keep coming back to? ? We didn’t have class last week because of Labor Day, so I emailed him and asked to meet. I’d heard similar comments about my writing but I didn’t understand what it meant or what to do about it.
This week he sent me some notes on Point of View which we’ll be talking about next class. He said POV is what I needed to learn because the words of the story and perceptions and order of perceptions are those of your POV. ? I read through the 12 pages he sent me. It was great.
Other people had made the comment too many details ? or the details aren’t relevant to the story ?. But Keith broke it down in a way I can understand, or atleast begin to understand what I need to learn.
As he puts it the POV is (1) what the character sees and (2)the order that the character sees it in. The notes also talk about using diction and syntax that the character might use and gives examples from James Joyce and others.
Part of me reacts to all this with Whoa! This is hard work! ? Even though I want it to be fun. It seems hard because it means changingand it means paying attention.
In the first paragraph of my Personal Mission Statement I say:
When I say love I mean knowing and understanding the nature and meaning of another person’s suffering and joy and wanting to act in ways that comfort and cultivates joy.
What I’m understanding of POV relates to my definition of love. It means knowing and understanding how another person experiences the world, how another person experiences their state of mind. And state of mind ? means suffering, joy, and everything in between.
This goes beyond labeling emotions (a useful tool I’ve learned for managing emotions) and gets into the experience of emotions. Instead of classifying a state of mind as angry ? I’m going to need to watch what IS ? during that state of mind. I’m thinking of the quote by Allen Ginsberg: Notice what you notice. ? And even more I’m going to notice (or atleast imagine) what other people notice.
Some starting points to learning/developing this new skill:
1. What do I notice?
2. When do I notice it?
3. Why do I notice that?
4. Why do I notice that then?
These seem like the appropriate place to start, but I’m still not clear on how to get from those questions to being able to notice what other people notice ?.
Maybe I can listen to other people tell stories. I can listen for what details other people include and listen for how they describe things. I can listen to conversations and try to guess ? what people notice by what they say.
But life happens so fast. I don’t think I can seperate anyone on part from the rest or answer anyone question without answering all the others. Not really. Even so, it might be helpful to spend some time meditating ? on these questions, just thinking about and writing about my thoughts trying to come up with answers. I now the answers will come from elsewhere, if at all. Like the quote by Rilke, Live your questions now, and perhaps even without knowing it, you will live along some distant day into your answers. ?

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