Perception Is Real

As you reflect on and write some of the stories from your life, remember, you are writing the truth as you know it. Someone else who was present at a particular incident you’ve written about can have a different view of “what happened,” but that doesn’t mean that what you remember didn’t happen the way you remember it.

Have you ever seen a shadow box? We made them at school when I was a little girl. You could cut cardboard shapes of trees and flowers, glue a flattened bottom edge of the shapes to the inside of a shoe box, cut a small peep hole in the narrow end of the box, and voila! Flat shapes became 3-D. A new world was created!

Perception. The way we see things and understand our environment.

I’ve always liked this example of perception. Three people stand together on a hilltop looking into a tranquil valley below. The landscape is lush and green.  

  • The realtor sees the development potential.
  • The farmer sees a good opportunity for growing grain.
  • The artist sees an inspiring vista to paint.

In the short film “The Lunch Date,” perception plays a central role. The situation shifts near the end and it becomes an entirely different story. And what has changed is perception. Watching it, I especially like how I’m taken along on the ride, deeply into the perception of reality I’m presented.

You can see The Lunch Date here.

As writers, we need to do the same as the woman in the train station in this ten-minute film. We need to trust our perception. It informs the truth as we know it. If, over time, our perception changes and our understanding of truth does too, we can laugh, or we can cry, we can apologize if it’s needed or possible. And we can remind ourselves, the perception we once had was as real as the one we have now. We can only write the truth as we know it.