Monday, November 7, 2011

A Writer's Vision

Post by Jenny

I’m one of those lucky people who have needed to wear glasses since…well, conception, considering my genes. Growing up, my annual eye exam invariably resulted in thicker lenses, which is why I dread the eye doctor the way some people dread the dentist. And now that I’m reaching a certain age, I’m having more trouble seeing up close. Truly, we life-long myopes—who squint at the swimming pool, battle with foreign matter under our contacts, and have had a lens restriction on every one of our driver’s licenses—should be spared the additional hassle of presbyopia.

(And yes, I know about Lasik, but I’m a total chicken.)

But as anyone with more significant visual impairments than mine could attest to, vision is not always synonymous with eyesight. Dictionary.com defines vision as “the act or power of sensing with the eyes,” “the act or power of anticipating that which will or may come to be,” and “a vivid, imaginative conception or anticipation.” That last one is my favorite.

I know that painters, photographers, and the like depend heavily on eyesight. And I find it interesting that many famous visual artists endured eye troubles. Claude Monet and Mary Cassatt had cataracts. Camille Pissarro had a malfunctioning tear duct. Edgar Degas suffered from what was probably macular degeneration. These artists continued to paint as long as they were able, and consequently their work reflects both their eyesight and their creative vision. In Monet’s case, some of his most famous works were painted when his cataracts were at their worst.

Many writers, especially those of us who can barely draw a bath, primarily use words as our medium. Without a single brushstroke or click of the shutter, we are often able to visualize an entire WIP from beginning to end. Additionally, we writers, from the most minimalist poet to the most epic fantasy author, must keep an eye on our writer’s journey—where we’ve been, where we are, where we’re headed.

I’ve recently been to the eye doctor, so I know how my eyesight is doing. (MOTS, but thanks for asking.) But it has been quite a while since I’ve examined my writer’s vision. Am I proceeding from a place of “a vivid, imaginative conception or anticipation?” Or am I becoming increasingly short-sighted? Maybe it’s time I tweaked that prescription, too.

How’s your writer’s vision doing these days?

6 comments:

Name: Luana Krause said...

I've been inspired lately by psychological suspense and I'm writing short pieces in this genre. I won't really call it "horror" but some might.

Dean K Miller said...

My writing vision was substantially focused by attending the Personal Essay class last Saturday. Since then, I've also jotted notes for three new pieces...so maybe distractions are still keeping me a bit fuzzy.

I'm carrying "cheaters" with me most of the time now. Don't always need them, but sometimes...yikes!

The ARRP Big Button/Big Screen cell phone is looking more attractive all the time (when I put on my cheaters to read the ad!)

Patricia Stoltey said...

I think my writer's vision is clouded. Is there a surgical solution for lack of clarity in purpose?

Kerrie said...

My writing vision was severely out of focus for so long, it has been a challenge getting it back in place. For the last few weeks I have been journaling every morning and that seems to be clearing up the fuzziness and misdirection.

Jenny said...

Luana, sounds like you have a great focal point.

Dean, a good class can do wonders for writer's vision. Does the AARP phone have Angry Birds? :-)

Pat, I don't think there's a surgery, but maybe Kerrie's journaling would help?

John Paul McKinney said...

According to one of my mentors, D.O. Hebb at McGill U. ("The Organization of Behavior"), we "learn" to see. Maybe there's hope for me yet. I hope the aging process is gentler on the writing than it has been on seeing. I refuse to wear trifocals, but instead use two different pairs of glasses. Jenny, thanks for helping us focus.

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