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Reena’s Exploration Challenge #135 — Listen Twice

“Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear,” by Vincent VanGogh

I’m about halfway through Chuck Palahniuk’s new book, “Consider This: Moments in My Writing Life After Which Everything was Different,” and the prompt phrase today reminds me of something Chuck says in it. In the section, Establishing Authority: Your Storytelling Context, he says,

Context and source are more important now than they’ve ever been. So if you were my student, I’d ask you, “Who’s telling this? Where are they telling it? And why are they telling it?”
Palahniuk, Chuck. Consider This (p. 40). Grand Central Publishing. Kindle Edition.

There is no way to separate the writer from the story. It would be akin to looking at the self-portrait by VanGogh where he is missing his ear and not wondering what the story behind it was.

Everyone is selling something. In the writer’s case, it is a personalized point of view. If you have the luxury of time and are able to “listen twice,” you will learn much. In the blogging community, where bloggers follow their community members over time, you have that luxury.

Reena Saxena is the host of Reena’s Exploration Challenge.  Reena says:
The field is wide open to you to mull over it, and structure your piece around it. It can be a loose structuring – any story/memory/anecdote that comes to mind. You may write a poem or essay based on it.


16 thoughts on “Reena’s Exploration Challenge #135 — Listen Twice

  1. A personalised point of view is like empathy – one can imagine what the other person feels, but not really know it. One can talk to living persons to know where they come from, but characters will respond in the manner the writer wants them to.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with that to a point, but real life people often hide behind masks and, mirroring what you said, “respond in the manner” they want the listener to regard them in. Whether it’s a writer or a person you’re having a conversation with, be it written, verbal, etc. It isn’t so much what they say as it is the context by which you can triangulate them within. My opinion only!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Not exactly as it is, but I do enjoy the loosening of the mask as I write. Reality from within words is so much more than black on white or fancy prose.
    In the same way a poet can make a world of five lines, a story can make a real person by showing the reactions to those secrets, wearing those masks until they fail the purpose

    Liked by 1 person

        1. I like having books in kindle format to highlight then can save the highlighted parts on a doc. His writing style is like a drug to me. The only book of his that stopped me cold was Snuff, because of subject matter. Tried to read it twice now and couldn’t get far.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. The only books I read with time gaps between each chapter are his books. I need time to absorb (and I couldn’t read snuff). He’s truly within the character, and takes me in there with them. Sometimes, it’s too much, but always compelling.

            Liked by 1 person

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