The early morning is my favorite time of the day. It’s when my antique school clock keeps a steady beat, letting me know time marches on. It’s when my dog sleeps by my side in my “woman and a dog chair” and my cat sits on my feet. It’s a time when my thoughts are usually clear, and I can write without interruption. It’s also a time when I often reflect on how lucky I am.
Some people would take a very different look at my life and see no reason to be happy. They would see a woman who has been rolled over by corporate American enough times she has tread marks on her back. They would focus on her unemployment for almost three years (except for an adjunct teaching job here and there). They’d see someone whose credit rating has plummeted. They would feel sorry for this woman whose husband suffers from MS and has lost a lot of his cognitive abilities. Ten years ago he was a brilliant 3-D mechanical designer and now can’t do the math any longer. They probably see a person who has settled to live out her years in a small house with worn-out furniture.
But I have a different perspective from those people. I see the last three years as an opportunity to discover new abilities that I never had time to discover. I make handmade jewelry and have set up a small business for it. I’ve learned that I can paint beautiful scenes that other appreciate. I’ve written five novels and am working on the sixth. My husband can still beat me at a hot game of Scrabble on our back patio, while we sit an iced coffee and listen to the birds that live in the big trees on our lot. We have a chance to enjoy each other everyday, plus we have two four-legged kids that always bring smiles everyday just because they are here.
Perspective determines what kind of life you build. It’s everything in life, and consequently, it’s everything in writing, too. Perspective determines character. Knowing how each character sees the world determines how they will act in situations. Perspective is at the heart of whether your readers fall in love with your characters or lovingly hate them.
So when life throws a curve, lean into it. You have a choice of striking out or hitting it over the fence. It depends on your perspective.