A Month of Reflection – Day 16: Understand

I’ll say this about understanding.

I can work as hard as I can to understand certain people,
Or their situation,
Or their choices,
Or their words.

But for some people,
Try as I might
I just
Can’t.

Can’t bring myself to picture why they
Say
Don’t say
Do
Don’t do
Do differently
Live that way
Think that way

Yet

Peeling away the layers of
Words
Choices
Actions

I understand that I can
Love them
All the same.

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4 Responses to “A Month of Reflection – Day 16: Understand”

  1. Alana Mancuso Says:

    Oy, people. They are hard to understand. It’s interesting how that trying to understand the way people think and act and believe what they do– I think that drives a lot of us, but especially writers. And yet even writers can get it so wrong! Because sometimes when we write we make archetypes not people, because we’re trying to tell a story here. I have to admit that’s one of the things I’m most terrified about– accidentally not writing people because I’m trying to service the story. Without people there wouldn’t be a story. The story might be what entertains readers but the people in the story, their personalities and flaws and ideals and wants, that’s what we get attached to.

    I often find myself writing things to that I can try to understand them better, or to make others understand something better. But at some point there’s really no guarantee communication will be made, because we’ve all got our ways of interpreting things.

    • Lainie Levin Says:

      Exactly! I find writing so much like art because I have a picture in my head of how things should be, or how I want to say them. Sometimes I can put the words together to somewhat successfully create for others what I see in my mind. Other times, it’s like I’m stuck drawing stick figures. It’s why I stop myself from writing fiction, for the most part.

      • Alana Mancuso Says:

        I think that’s WHY I like fiction actually… if I write creative nonfiction I feel like I’m promoting my version of things which is also highly personal. It feels like I have to defend that even if parts aren’t 100% factual yeah, is actually how it happened for ME– and yet still doesn’t overwhelm others’ experiences.

        Whereas with fiction, of course I’m still sharing parts of myself but it’s easier for me to say “ok, my relationship to the characters and events is just one of many” and it’s my actual goal to have people create their own relationships with the story. For example, someone might find my most darling character an asshole– but neither one of us are right or wrong because the story is the story and we all get to relate to it and find meaning in it in our own ways. In fiction, the text is really a mirror that doesn’t so much offer any sort of central judgement, just themes and questions, which each reader gets to navigate and answer for themselves.

  2. Lainie Levin Says:

    Oh, I wish I could! I just have such a difficult time with it. I can picture the conversations and scenes; I can sense the emotional arc. I just don’t know how to piece it all together.

    Who knows…maybe that’ll be my next writing goal to try and tackle…

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