This blog post is about a task I decided to take on about narrative perspective and voice. Originally, I was doing this because I wanted to complete some of the extra assignments in the class, but I actually was able to learn a lot about writing from it. I never thought about putting on paper the comparison between describing something in the moment and describing it later, but the results left me very surprised and intrigued about this way of approaching writing! Here is what I did:
1) Narrate an important moment from the past:
All I see is the ball and out of the corner of my eye comes her. Before I know it I’m on the ground and screaming in pain. What happened? The girl smashed into my body leaving me on the floor and the ball somewhere far away. There’s no blood but there is definitely pain and I begin to scream. The louder I am the more worried everyone around me becomes and I start to hear the whispers of my knee being torn. My only though is that this is my worst nightmare, the words no female athlete wants to hear- you’ve tour your ACL. When I’m finally able to open my eyes that are closed to hide the pain, I noticed the ambulance pulling up on the field. They ask to cut off my cleats but I beg them not too, thinking that maybe just one thing could still go in my favor and I could keep my favorite shoes. They strap me onto the stretcher and my mom comes inside the ambulance as I see my team wave goodbye to me.
2) Reflect on the experience now
The moment changed more than I thought it ever could. It changed the way my leg would look forever, slighting disfigured, a bit wider than its once identical partner and a fresh 5-inch scar. It changed the way I viewed the game I loved, from being something I thought I’d play in college and past that to something I’d reminisce about, when I would play “back in the day”. It changed the way I’d appreciate being able to run and cut and jump and even just walk. I used to think about that hit and day and game as a moment in time that stole something from me. It stole dreams I had and tainted good memories and took away something I loved to do, but I can’t live that way. You can’t live feeling sorry for the fact that something happened to you, that a twist and a turn and a wrong hit at the wrong time and constantly repeating if only, you need to accept it. You need to find the silver lining and enjoy the other moments that are important too.
What do you notice about the difference in voice between these two paragraphs? Imagine them sequentially- do they work together?
I notice definitely that the first one is supposed to be in the mind of someone injured, expressing hurt and confusion and describing the situation at the same time. Similarly, the reflection voice is also inside the mind but sounds more sophisticated, less frustrated and more accepting, poised and under control. The main difference is that narrating a moment as if you’re in the moment and then reflecting on it shows different perspectives that can be expressed through the voice. While one allows for raw emotion to come out, the reflection comes off as my reserved and understanding. I think it would be possible, with some adjustment, for these two paragraphs to work together, as long as their was some kind of bridge or transition expressing how you feel then and now.