Monday, 6 May 2013

A Different View of Perspective

When I was young, I had a very active imagination. Of course I did. For one thing I was a child, and for another thing, I grew up to become a writer (here I'm using a very strict definition of the term 'grew up'). But one of the things I used to do, as a kid, was lie on the couch upside-down. Not only was it weird to have the blood rushing to my head, and to wiggle my feet free in the air, but when I hung my head up-side down and looked at the ceiling, after a while it would begin to look like the floor. Staring at this new upside-down room, I wondered what it would be like to live in my house up-side down.
All of the doorways have a lip near the top. You have to be careful not to step on the lights or, if they're the hanging kind, make sure not to bump into them, incase they fall up and smash on the ceiling. The floor would never get dirty, as all the dust and dirt would fall up. Although you'd have a much worse problem with spiders. And on a hot day, you'd be risking your ankles whenever you turn on the fan. 
If you've got the time, I suggest you try it out for yourself, at least for a few minutes. Some of the simplest things build into an entire universe of parallel existence. It's interesting how everything can change, just by looking at it from a different angle.
The Word of the Day is: 'PERSPECTIVE'.

Perspective /pə'spektiv/ n. 1. The art of showing the three-dimensional quality of a scene, building, etc., on a flat surface. 2. The relation of parts to one another and to the whole, in a mental view or outlook. 3. A scene, especially one stretching into the distance; vista. 4. The appearance of objects in relation to position, distance, etc. 5. in perspective, a. According to the laws of perspective. b. In true proportion. ♦adj. 6. Of or relating to the art of perspective, or represented according to its laws.

So what's all this noise then? Why am I talking about perspective? Well, because recently mine has changed. I look out the window and I see a different landscape. By the way, I don't mean that poetically. I literally see a different place, because for the next week or so I am house-sitting for some of my family. They're off on holiday doing whatever, and I am here taking care of the house and pets while they're away.
I brought Dictionary with me, since I plan to continue blogging throughout, but lately that ancient vessel of profound knowledge has been spending its time lounging in the bedroom under its own covers. So while that old volume is holidaying and spending time away from its shelf, I've been enjoying some of the differences that the new domicile, vista and environs avail me.
There's the computer, for one. I don't own a laptop, so I've left my great lumbering monolith at home and am instead using my cousin's computer in the guest room. It's an old machine, running Windows XP, and it sounds like the motherboard works by punchcard since the main console makes a clunking noise whenever it's processing. I didn't think a computer had that many moving parts, why is it making a mechanical clunking sound? Then again, here I can watch a movie, copy across 12 seperate files & use the internet all at the same time with no problems, meanwhile my own computer's CPU overheats if I open a Word document while copying a file, so I can't really say my computer is 'better'.
Also, I think that these people single-handedly support the CD manufacturing industry. When USB keys were invented and illegal downloading became unpoliceable, I effectively left 'compact disks' in the dust, so since coming here I have doubled the number of CDs that I have ever seen in my lifetime. I like AC/DC as much as the next person, but does one really need fourteen CDs of one band?
Now quickly, say AC/DC CDs three times fast!

Okay, I get it, I'm sort of just pointing out stuff I'm looking at in this room. It's not a very big picture, and isn't really perspective, I'm just pointing out little things. It occurs to me that, since I don't describe my study desk at home, it defeats the point of describing this room for contrast. But when you think about it, it's all about perspective.

See, even the small things can change perspective, because your eye is a very small thing. The devil's in the details as they say. or as I would put it:

  "You can't paint a portrait in one brushstroke."
- The Absurd Word Nerd
 
The 'bigger picture' is a collection of littler things that make up the whole. I mean, when you think about it, I wouldn't even be writing about the CDs if I had been home. I wouldn't be thinking the way I am now, and the word of the day would probably be Symmetry, or something like that. Which brings me to the real change in perspective.

One of the things that writers like to do is change their surroundings to get their thoughts going. They like to 'get away from it all', and clear their mind to get thoughts moving. Sometimes this is done during times of stress or writer's block, or maybe just because they are bored with the stories they are writing, and want to invigorate that passion for the story again. But the thing is, clearing the mind isn't what you need to do when you're feeling a little 'stuck' mentally. What you need is to fill it with something different.
Lately, my change in perspective has given me new understandings of things. For one: perspective; I'm starting to see it as more than just a bigger picture. But also, I've been thinking about freedom.

See, I am at a house, with a computer, with the internet and I have with me all the clothes that I need, a bed to sleep in and food to eat. You might think that I am free, but I'm not. Because as much as I can leave the house, and even take the pets with me, I don't really want to go anywhere. There's nothing interesting around me but shops (to get more food) and parks and things. I am stuck in this house, with nowhere to go.
However, I am not trapped. Because to me, location doesn't mean very much. As I said, I have the internet. I can still blog as I please, and contact people I know. I can access all the information and entertainment I could want. Also, I have my Dictionary with me, lazy as he is. I have my pens, pencils, paper, writing books and some of my folders of writing information. I even brought a USB full of my "Story Stuff" folder.  I can write stories at a whim, and I plan to. My point is, I have come to understand something about freedom.
Freedom isn't about where you are; it's about what you have. If I had books to read and write, then I could happily be in a prison cell. Not that I'm equating this place to a prison cell, I'm just saying that a wide open space with nothing, while feeling open and free, without a pen and paper to me it's nothing but a gilded cage.

I guess what I'm saying is that even really small places can feel big, depending on your perspective.

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