Perception or Point of View?

I don’t know what made me start thinking about the word perception this morning; it just popped into my head and said, “Write something about me today.”

Hmm. Weird. Like everyone else, I think in words, but I don’t normally have one of them make demands of me that way.

As an author, I am extremely conscious of POV–that’s “point of view” for any of you who are non-writers. A good writer should only be inside one character’s head at a time. If he wants to change the point of view, he needs to make a smooth transition to keep from confusing the reader by committing the dreaded sin of “head hopping.”

Head hopping was almost the norm in novels of long ago, when the omniscient POV was still popular. But it’s a HUGE no-no in contemporary novels.

“Ooops!” My unconscious mind punched me in the tummy, which is still tender after last week’s gall bladder surgery. “Uhh! Why did you do that?”

“Roger, you’re already off-track. I told you to write about perception, not point of view. They’re not the same, despite the similarities.”

They’re not? “I’d never thought about that.”

“That’s because of your perception.”

“Not my point of view?’

The unconscious part of my mind seemed to hesitate. “That, too.”

Now I was really confused. “I give up. I’m healing from surgery. I’m not thinking very clearly at the moment. What are you trying to tell me?”

I could almost hear a sigh of satisfaction. “Before you had surgery, you thought the removal of your gall bladder would be a piece of cake. I believe that’s the cliche I heard you use a time or two. Nothing to it. Just because it would be laparoscopic.”

I groaned in agreement. That little punch in the tummy had left me in pain I’d thought I’d already moved past.

“What do you think now? Was it as simple as you’d thought?”

I laughed. “You know the answer to that. I thought I’d be back to normal in just a couple of days. I’m feeling better every day, but totally normal is still a number of days away.”

Was my mind chuckling at me? “So what’s your opinion now? Is laparoscopic surgery as, uh, pain-free as you’d expected.”

I rolled my eyes. “Do you even have to ask? I know better now.”

“But why? What has changed?”

“Besides being rid of a worthless gall bladder, you mean?”

No response.

Then things fell into place. I knew what my mind was pressing me to understand. “My point of view is still the same–it’s mine–but my perspective has changed. From anticipation based on someone else’s point of view to the reality of what I’ve experienced during the last six days.”

The pain in my stomach calmed instantly. And almost completely. “Now you’re talking. And why don’t you take a nap before people start thinking you’re crazy for talking to your unconscious mind this way.”

I chuckled. “Thanks. I think I will.”

[NOTE: When the idea of writing about perception first came to mind today, I thought I would write about the fact that I look at so many things differently now than I did fifty years ago. I hope you’re not disappointed that I got a bit carried away going in a different direction.]

I’d love to have a comment about this weird little bit of fiction.

NOTE: Various people have complained about not being able to find or leave comments. Go all the way to the bottom of this post, beneath my “Best regards, Roger.” On the very bottom line of that last section just above the previous post you’ll see “Leave a Comment” if yours will be the first or “X Comments,” where  X denotes the number of existing comments.


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Best regards,

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