Discover The Parallax

quillA New Post submitted by Mason Stewart on March 11, 2014

Writing for the purpose of self reflection is a task that most of us never really get around to doing. Many might consider it a complete waste of time. However, in reading the Parallax, the real benefit of writing for self reflection is made clear through Frank’s story. It is interesting to think about how two people experiencing the same moment can have such drasticallly different viewpoints and perspectives on the experience. Writing allows us to transcend a personal experience and break it down in order to see the experience from another perspective. It also allows us to deconstruct our thoughts and perhaps discover a part of your subconscious self that you may not have known or understood. While writing for self reflection is something that most average people probably don’t do or even think about doing, the Parallax helps put into perspective the benefits of doing so on personal effectiveness both in our daily lives and in the workplace. It’s important to know how others perceive you because this may not match with how you wish to be perceived or it may not match with your intentions. The best example is how Kyle, the CEO in the story, is able to slow down and realize how much of an ass he’s being. He’s able to realize this for a moment in time. The experiences of the workshop attendees definitely allowed them to see themselves more clearly and increase their personal effectiveness


58 thoughts on “Discover The Parallax

  1. I found it really interesting how very differently Frank and Sarah experienced the moments that followed their viewing the Twin Towers on the news. It highlights how very differently each person reacts to emotional triggers on a level relatable to everyone who can remember where they were the moment they first learned of the terrible tragedy. Also interesting, was how they both misinterpreted situations (such as Sarah’s illness), thus leading to many years of disconnect and miscommunication which essentially put their marriage at a standstill. The importance of clear communication especially during times of emotional distress is even more obvious to me after reading The Parallax.

  2. Why does the author, Don Rickert, so vehemently desires us, the students of STLCOP, to read his book The Parallax?
    PERSPECTIVE. After reading The Parallax, it is evident to me that the author seeks to enhance the reader’s ability to perceive on more than just the surface level. To achieve this, he suggests to the reader to step back from the day to day hustle, to observe phenomena from “new line of sight[s],” and – through self-reflection and the medium of writing – to learn from new vistas.
    PERSPECTIVE. The author hopes that his characters, namely Frank and Sarah, will appeal to the reader, calling us not to “think about” them, but instead to “connect” with them. In doing so, we relate to the events of the story on a deeper level, and any lessons realized will be that much realer, stronger.
    PERSPECTIVE. I have heeded the author’s advice, and here is my take on this matter. The writing of The Parallax is the author’s own journey through a specific happening of his past. My best guess is that this happening is with a lost lover, the one who got away. Frank’s journey is the author’s – a voyage through regret and a coming to terms.
    What makes me conclude this? The author hints it in several places. I won’t elaborate much on my selected quotes of his, as you can connect the dots. “The cost of inertia is too great to ignore (p3).” [so] “Confront ghosts through writing (p3).” And if you find it too difficult, “fictionalize as necessary to create a comfort zone (p101).” On another note, those who are able to “connect with” the characters are empathizing with the author.
    Assuming that everything above is on point, what does this all mean? I believe the author has a very good lesson: we should observe and evaluate happenings at more than just the superficial face-value. Though writing/reading is a good medium for accomplishing this, I feel that it is not for everybody. Reflecting through writing requires a certain angle of introversion that not everybody possesses.
    Wow, I’m just a nonsensical stream of thoughts. I like the author’s intent.

  3. As someone who enjoys writing, I often do write for self-reflection. I’ve found that writing things out not only helps me reflect, but also helps me clarify. When a life-changing incident has happened, or even when I am just stressed and anxious and unable to focus my thoughts, I have found that sitting down and writing it all out as the workshop participants did is not only calming, but clarifying. If something is bothering me to the point of distraction but I can’t exactly pinpoint what it is, writing has helped me discover it so that I can address it. I have used this technique to address self-anxieties, problems in my relationships, and very effectively to address problems at work. When something just won’t come out right in words, I can always get it to come out on paper. Then I can use my written thoughts to face the now clarified problem head on. This not only helps me understand my problems better, but helps me address them in a calm and appropriate manner.

  4. I’ve never really been interested in writing for self-reflection. I’ve always thought it was good for the people that it works for, me not being one of them. Self-reflection is not for me. But after realizing that maybe I have bit of the Kyle in me, maybe I should try just to make sure I’m not a Kyle. The results: I’ve discovered that self-reflection can actually help get to the bottom of what I’m thinking.

  5. After reading The Parallax, my attitude and perspective towards writing has changed. While in school, I have thought of writing as more of a chore rather than something that could improve my personal effectiveness. Each writing class has their own topics and rules that one must follow in order to succeed in the class. Peer-editing and revisions are a familiar step in the writing process. I liked that Dr. Stein told the participants in the workshop to “write without editing” in order to allow their subconscious thoughts to surface and expand. In this way, I no longer saw writing as another assignment, but as an outlet into your deepest memories and thoughts that could potentially help one see their world differently. I was also able to learn from the stories shared by the participants which send the same message as what Bill said, “It’s only when we change our point-of-view that we gain perspective.” I believe this idea can be applied to our everyday lives, business, as well as, pharmacy.

  6. I consider self reflecting an important practice and should be done consistently. I personally reflect on my experiences and emotions during difficult times in my life. It’s easier to write down how I’m feeling when I don’t feel comfortable sharing with others. After reflecting, I come to peace with what has transpired and it’s easier to move on when I leave all my thoughts on paper. In the Parallax, Nicole tells the group about her grandfather’s multiple myeloma, but in the viewpoint of her grandfather suffering from it. She mentions that she felt selfish because while her grandfather was suffering she was only concerned about her feelings and how it affected her and not her grandpa. When Nicole was given the time to write about this situation it provided clarity and gave her a new perspective.

  7. I’ve always believed writing was a way to organize my thoughts. When I get overwhelmed or anxious and write everything down, I can then compartmentalize all of my emotions into a more comprehensible list. When emotions are translated to words, they become more concrete and make more sense to my scientific mind. Maybe I can take this a step farther and reflect on the stream of consciousness I write down to clarify further what is bothering me, rather than just organizing the things I need to do to reduce my anxiety.

  8. Before reading the Parallax I did not really know what to expect. After finishing the novel I realized that this was probably one of the most influential books on my life thus far. Frank and Sarah’s story was very intriguing because it uses a temporal method to describe and examine their family life. I found this very interesting because it has not only influenced me to try to live my life differently, but see my life in a different prospective. I often find myself on “auto-pilot” during the day and that is something that I want to change. This book has helped me realize that I should take a step back from my daily life to reevaluate what I consider important in my life so I can do a better job living it.

  9. As someone who very rarely relies on self reflection as a way of sorting out my emotions and as a way to solve my problems, reading The Parallax was a little bit of an eye opener for me. Being a student, I have never really liked writing due to it being required, however reading this has really encouraged me to start writing for my own benefit. Like Nicole, I often get very caught up in my own emotions and very rarely take the time to take other emotions into account. I feel like by beginning to write through my emotional process, I could better understand how I am feeling, and why. By having a better grasp on my own emotions, I could then begin to take the steps towards understanding the emotions of those around me. I may be better able to put myself in their shoes, and rationalize the decisions they are making and begin to understand why they may be feeling the way they are.

  10. I’ve understood the value of writing as a means of reflection for a long time. The Parralax renewed my understanding of its importance specifically in difficult situations. Often times if there’s something troubling me I simply talk with others, or spend some time on a walk alone with my thoughts. After reading The Parralax, I wrote about a situation in my life that had been troubling me. I too found some relief after putting my thoughts to paper.

  11. I agree completely that there is a benefit to writing for self reflection as the characters in The Parallax found. I tend to journal sporadically, but when I do, I always derive something therapeutic from the experience. Writing my thoughts down allows me to come back later and reflect on them, oftentimes discovering a new perspective about the situation. And that’s the parallax–understanding something from a different point of view. Most often, I come to understand myself in different ways that I then integrate with what I previously knew about myself.

  12. What I enjoyed most about reading The Parallax was the constant reminder that everybody is fighting their own battles in life that we probably know absolutely nothing about. It was a nice reminder to always be conscious of other people’s feelings when you are in a situation that tests you. In the beginning of this book, Francis and Sarah are struggling with the tragic news of September 11th and questioning the way the other person is reacting to the news. It shows us that we all should take a little bit of time to stop what we are doing and look at the situation from the perspective of another person. The Parallax tries to show how two people, who have been married for 25 years, are still working on understanding each other and it just goes to show you that not everybody is exactly how you think they should be.

  13. I thought that the introduction of the book was a really effective way to capture the readers attention. The initial story that was told by Frank was very dramatic and really got me interested to read the rest of the book. The second part of the book where we find out that Frank’s story is being shared in a writing workshop to help other people learn how to express themselves through writing was a little less captivating than the introduction, and each of the individual people’s stories that they came up with were interesting, but I did find it interesting how the writing activity was able to help even the most stubborn guests at the workshop discover something new about themselves and learn how to express themselves in a therapeutic and effective way. It helps to get the reader thinking about how complex the lives of every other person around you all really are.

  14. I always enjoyed writing; however, my style was more for creativity, not necessarily personal benefit. This story offered a new perspective of writing as a form of conscious self-reflection. The various perspectives elucidated some past encounters of my own where, looking back, people saw things differently. This allows me to be a better writer as it develops emotional intelligence, which is important for not only writing but also dealing with everyday encounters.

  15. While growing up, I always a had problem of just bottling up my emotions and then sometimes releasing them at the most inopportune times. I also did not like writing either, mainly because I always struggled to put on thoughts on paper and usually received not so ideal grades on papers. But after reading The Parallax. My view on writing was changed. I see now that writing doesn’t have to be something for a grade but just a way to “let it out” and not care how something is written but rather if the proper message is conveyed. That”s what I learned from just thinking about the workshop that Dr. Stein held. And after reading this story, I thought about what is going on in my life and started to write about it. After writing about it, I was able to look at my life in a different view point, which I believe was the ultimate goal of The Parallax.

  16. From reading the Parallax, I came across 3 main aspects in my mind that I gave thought too in which those 3 aspects were communication, relationships, and grieving. In my own life I am similar to Frank in that I put up an emotional wall at times. I feel Frank didn’t go through a proper grieving process just as I didn’t with my brother and grandfather. I felt guilty for how I thought negatively about my brother and grandfather at times but with reading the Parallax I realize that I can’t put that guilt on myself. I tend to want to look strong on the outside which causes me to hold stuff in. I’ve been through a lot in my life and it’s a rare occasion that I really open up to someone. I also can relate to how Sarah begs Frank to open up to her as I experience that situation with my girlfriend wanting the same from me. The Parallax has made me realize that opening up is something that I need to do to help me move past the tough times in my life. To keep a healthy mind and body it is important to not keep stuff bottled up inside and to use the strong relationships with loved ones to communicate with. Thanks Parallax for helping me see these aspects more clearly.

  17. When reading the Parallax, I was particularly drawn to the scene where him and his wife saw on television the destruction of the Twin Towers in New York on September 11th. The two responded to the catastrophic event in very different ways. As interesting as it was, it goes to show that you cannot expect everyone to respond to emotional situations in the same manner. It is easy to judge or even misunderstand one’s response to loss or distress; but, this situation can help others realize that every person deals with situations in their own ways. In addition, in regards to writing for self-reflection. I have not written a lot for these purposes; but, it is easy to see how it could be beneficial. In times of stress, anxiety, or anger, self-reflecting via writing could be a way to “vent” or relieve any emotions I may be feeling. It could become a way to deal with situations in my own way.

  18. Based on how chaotic life can be I can agree with Dr. Stein’s concept that therapeutic writing is necessary for personal effectiveness. Today, everyone is focused on the troubles that tomorrow might bring or wishing the minutes away to get to the always desired weekend. Because our society seems to want to move so quickly, I worry that many of us are missing out on the importance of “those little moments” that really matter. If this continues we may find ourselves in Frank’s shoes trying desperately to fix an issue that has been accumulating over time. I truly believe writing therapeutically could be an asset towards young couples who are preparing to marry, who are newlywed or even couples who have been together over a lengthy period of time who have hit a bump in the road. If there is a fight that leads to hurt feelings on both ends, taking the time to sit separately, quietly may lead to the real reason behind the fight and may also provide perspective about how their partner is thinking/feeling. As Frank says; “When we’re in the moment, our emotions conceal the true meaning of our actions.” I value my relationship infinitely and do not want my emotions to pose a threat. Instead of letting my emotions act as a barrier, I hope this story will allow me to better use my stories/my emotions towards the success of my relationship.

  19. Reading the Parallax forced me to evaluate a few things in my own life. As with the story of Frank and Sarah, two people living the same moment but yet not really living the same moment. Frank and Sarah have completely different perspectives on the same moment. This aspect of the story really caused me to reflect on moments in my life and the perspectives I have had compared to others who are living the same moment with me. Family for example, we go through life surrounded by our loved and may be blind to their thoughts and opinions of the moments we share together. After reading the Parallax my eyes are now open to this.

  20. I used to write much more than I do now. I saw time has become an issue, but I make time for other things that matter much less. Writing has proven to me to be therapeutic, but knowing something is beneficial is far different than making it a habit. I do not want to allow myself to act as Frank: walled off. However, I truly believe that you can only be honest with others should you accept the truths for yourself. Writing allows you to do that, at least it did me. I can look back and see I was silly or justified while still feeling relief at the time of my writing regardless of right or wrong. In looking back on oneself through his or her own words, you learn more about yourself in the past so you can grow into the individual you prefer to be.

  21. I agree that no two experience can be the same. Depending on many factors such as the environment people grew up and what kind of person they are, it may be that everyone takes an experience differently from each other. This is why one cannot underestimate another’s life. Reading The Parallax reminded me of the phrase, “Be kind, for everyone is fighting their own battle.” There is always a reason behind the way a person displays oneself in one particular way and no one should have a say in that. For example, when I heard someone ask the question, “Why are you like that,” I thought it was just the most inappropriate question to ask anyone. It would only truly be answered by explaining the person’s whole life, and it’s just not a good subject to wonder about. We have to learn to accept.

  22. It has been years since I have written a self-reflection. I often wrote back in high school and during my undergraduate years about events that impassioned me or frustrated me, in order to vent about the situation or reflect on my personal stance of an issue. Nowadays, I discuss such issues with my husband, who loves to play devil’s advocate. His debating skills used to bother me, but over the years I’ve began to appreciate how it challenges my views and helps me become very rooted in my opinions. If Frank and Sarah had such a dynamic in their marriage, they may have been able to solve their issues sooner, rather than after 25 years of marriage. However, self-reflection does not negate the importance of communication. After nearly five years of marriage I have discovered that communication is key. One could write a million self-reflections but if you do not communicate with your spouse, they cannot fully understand who you are and how you feel.

  23. I have not always been in pursuit of and understanding and appreciation of science. For a long time in my life, I was satisfied focusing on the arts. My own appetite was fed with writing. It is therapeutic in any number of situations. I have expressed joy, subdued anger, untangled confusion, and even overcome apathy. The Parallax demonstrates this in a way I related to immensely. Each character has their own experience when challenged to write. This shows how one experience can vary so greatly for so many people, but can ultimately lead to one goal: a greater understanding of emotion at the end of it.

  24. I have never truly utilized the form of self-reflection through journalist. I have found it so hard to right my true feelings down on paper, and reflection has always been a difficult task for me. I joined Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity my 2nd year at the College, and reflection has become essential ever since. I have been able to understand the importance of self-reflection and evaluation, in relation to becoming the best man I can be. I have been able to relate to the importance of journalism about one’s life through this avenue, and it was a pleasure to see The Parallax reinforce this concept. Everyone can speak to themselves about an event in their life that led them to success of failure, but writing these events and their impact on yourself encourages you to become more susceptible to self-awareness, as well as personal growth and development.

  25. Through writing and self-reflection, we are able to learn more about ourselves. I believe that it can be a very therapeutic process because it allows us to understand more about ourselves and express our emotions. It really does help us go beyond simply thinking and lets us demonstrate our thoughts and ideas. People can write about almost anything and really puts our imagination to work. In general, the use of writing can be very beneficial and helps us gain emotional intelligence.

  26. I have always kept a journal that I try to write in at least once a week. I never write in it daily but I think it is important to write out things that could be taking up space in your mind. Self-reflection is a great way to get some clarification on something that you have been debating or gain some perspective when you are going through a life changing event. Taking a step back and writing everything out just like the workshop participants can really help a person figure out what is bothering them. Sometimes it is easier to write out your feelings on paper rather than try to articulate them by word of mouth. When you write everything out you can almost come up with a plan to help solve your problems because you better understand them. This can help you address the problems in a professional and level-headed way rather than acting on raw emotion that often is misdirected.

  27. Reflecting on your thoughts is one of the most important things for you to do. Each day or even once a week writing down your thoughts will help to bring things into perspective. Just to have an overview of your life will help you to accomplish so much. The stress of life can be so overwhelming, if you do not talk to someone at least write it out. I know that for me writing things down in my journal when I am stressed helps me to put my life into perspective.

  28. One of the things that really struck me about the story in the parallax was the importance of stepping back and seeing things from the perspective of others. I felt that what Sam said was very applicable to all workplaces. I’ve experienced situations at work with other employees that are extremely frustrating and I’ve wondered how to get more out of these employees. I see the value of viewing things from the perspective of those you are working with and the emphasis on building relationships with your employees.

  29. Writing has never been a sting suit of mine, so expressing myself through writing was never that appealing to me. From these comments, a large portion being STLCOP student, they understand the stress and anxiety of always having your mind in “study mode”. No matter what we are doing we are thinking about a past exam, the future material, or what our future will hold. This book assignment has a sting purpose in the STLCOP curriculum; it causes is science brained students to take a step back and reevaluate. To think somewhere outside the relm of carbon molecules and drug names and more into our own thoughts. Usually I found take this as a waste of my time, but what this assignment has showed me is that learning about yourself are not thoughts wasted. Sometimes taking a step back and marinating in your own mind and thoughts is exactly what you need, whether it be to relieve stress or to solve problems — thinking in a different sense is not all that bad.

  30. After reading the Parallax I was able to have a better understanding of the importance of writing for self-reflection. At the beginning of this year, I started journaling every night or close to every night to reflect on my day and thoughts. Little did I know that I could learn so much from this. I just wanted to do it for fun, so I can go back in the future and read it. From doing this though, I learned about things I do that others perceive differently than I do. Sometime I think I am just being sarcastic and funny to someone, but people often perceive that I am being serious. After reflecting back at my reflections and the beginning of this year to now, I have been able to work on this and I see myself not doing this anymore. I would not have realized this had it not been for self-reflecting in my journal each night. Just like how Kyle realized he was being a jerk from self-reflection writing, and increased his personal effectiveness to try to change I was able to do the same. Although not many people write for self-reflection, I think everyone should.

  31. I think this is such an important, key part of this book. While I, personally, do little self-reflection in my daily life, I have noticed that there is a lot to gain from it in the few times I have taken the time to self-reflect. Oftentimes I get caught up in my own life, my own problems, and my own feelings; this self-centered tendency tends to fog my perception of what others around me are also feeling at the same time. I also liked your comment about how two people can have such opposite viewpoints about the same exact thing. This plays into my life so often. Because my dad and my grandpa are the only two people who think and feel exactly the way I do in every situation, I have come to realize that every other person in my life will react to everything in a different way than me. It is a constant struggle for my boyfriend and I to understand why we each get upset about certain things, but I think that self-reflection would really be beneficial in allowing us to take a step back from an altercation in an attempt to really understand each other.

  32. I feel like self-reflection is a great way to gauge how you respond to many situations that occur in your daily life, whether those situations seem small or not. I thought it was especially interesting how Kyle learned how much of a jerk he was being solely through self-reflection, but this explains how powerful it can be. There are many moments, especially through the semester, where I don’t self-reflect but I’ve been realizing lately that it can affect you negatively in the long run. For example, if someone makes a snide comment towards me and I try not to think about it, I notice my mood can be off for the day as well. What self-reflection does is let me embrace what I’m feeling and why I’m feeling it. Just doing this act helps me get a better grasp of what I’m feeling, and gives me a better idea of what to do about certain things. I highly suggest self-reflection as a means to better understand yourself, and this can help you better understand others as well.

  33. Self-reflection by means of writing has never been something that I would have thought of doing. Writing in general has never been a passion of mine. Reading The Parallax has really opened my eyes to the possibility of expressing myself through writing. When processing emotions, whether they be anger, sadness, or even happiness, writing is a great opportunity to actively expressed those emotions and really work through them. Taking the time to think about how one is feeling and putting it into words helps a person deal with their emotions. Any form of writing can help. This could be a journal, writing letters, or even creative writing. The possibilities are endless.

  34. I agree with the statement that writing is a powerful tool! I think it is one method we can use to reflect on things that have happened. In a way, writing gets you out of your own head. One of my favorite pieces of advice is that it doesn’t matter how you feel, as long as you understand how and why you felt that way. You have to acknowledge things to move past them and writing is a great way to do this. When Frank is reflecting on the trip and how he was frustrated with his wife, he soon comes to realize why he felt like this and how selfish it was once he knew she had COPD. The people at the seminar were coming to many realizations about their own lives as they wrote to understand themselves.

  35. From the story read at the workshop by Frank, we learn about the abrupt shift in perspective that people undergo that can reshape their interpretation of past memories. That alone was a worthwhile point to make. As we learn more about Frank’s personal life after the end of his story, another shift of perspective happens as we learn about his children and their stories. They tell us to focus on those around us and appreciate them.

  36. I have never had the desire to really self-reflect on paper. All the writing I’ve done in my life have been for school related projects or paper. Writing for fun has always seemed like a waste of time. I always thought that when you’re writing you’re usually writing this for someone else to read or grade. It has occurred to me that people do write for themselves in order to help get their thoughts in order and try to step back and see things from another angle. I do feel that I have similarities to Frank and how he sometimes act. When things don’t go well or awry, I sometimes start to shutdown. I know its not a good thing to do, but from viewing it from an entirely different angle, reading, as opposed to just thinking about it, it really does provide a bit of insight.

  37. I found the notion of adding fictional aspects to stories the most intriguing aspects of the book. For most of my life, trying to remember things in the true manner that they happen seemed of utmost importance. We remember how situations made us feel more often than what was actually said. By fictionalizing an experience we can better capture how we felt during that episode, or it could provide us with a new point of view.

  38. It is very interesting to see how people can react to emotionally impactful events in different ways. All people share common emotions, but how they affect us and how we use them differ greatly. It is common for people to not understand their emotions and how they affect them, but that does not mean that they do not affect them. That point was made clear in The Parallax through all of the hardship that the people were experiencing, and their issues that they had with emotionally moving on from these events. They were helped by writing though, and it was encouraging to read about these people understanding themselves better through their writing.

  39. I have never had a passion for writing; it just never appealed to me. I was never that little girl who had a diary and would write things down daily. Growing up, I always despised writing stories in elementary school or papers in general. I have to get in the “zone” in order to write. Quite frankly, I would be like Kyle, the CEO, in the story. If I was given the task to write for forty-five minutes, it would have taken me a good 10-15 minutes to figure out what to write about and then I would probably finish earlier than the forty-five minutes. However, The Parallax gave me a new perspective in regards to writing. Writing can be very beneficial; it allows one to see things differently. It is also an opportunity to self-reflect, which I believe is really important. One can use his or her writing to better themselves. They can use it to change their life, and it can help them realize how they really feel towards a particular moment/subject in their life. In looking back, one can realize how the past has shaped them into how they are in the present and how it will affect them in the future. Writing had the power to turn the most stubborn person like Kyle from the book, into appreciating writing and that is what reading the Parallax has done for me as well. I definitely look at writing as being a more positive rather than negative now.

  40. It seems incredible to me that I have never thought of writing as a way of not only coping, but to actually understand another person. In the rush of day to day life, we don’t usually stop and think about how other people perceive a situation. In the Parallax, Frank talks about writing down your thoughts, even if it was just mumbo jumbo, but that doing so allows you to learn from your memories and gain perspective. Frank then challenged his audience to learn this very skill; it was like magic, I could see the characters make these realizations, and then learn from them. I think it’s so important that we do not forget about reflection of our business and personal relationships. This makes us grow as individuals, allowing us to become more emotionally intelligent.

  41. The Parallax is truly a good read, which makes you take a step back from life and examine yourself on a new level. Too many times, we go throughout life, blindly attending to our everyday tasks. We seldom take time out to examine how we are living our life, and if we are truly meeting our full potential as humans. Too often, we are living a life that doesn’t allow us to slow down and recognize our faults. In this book, the participants of the writing seminar are given an hour for free writing, and are able to write whatever comes to their mind. By writing without editing, it allowed the participant’s unconscious to come alive. They did not have to worry about their “conscious” brain being in control, and having to edit their writing to make sure it fit in with modern-day-standards. This simple exercise was life changing for some, as it allowed them to organize their emotions in a new way that allowed them to see themselves in a new light, and thus discovering the parallax. Writing is a powerful tool which many people underestimate. It essentially allows us to exam our life from a third person viewpoint. Thus, it gives us a chance to examine ourselves and our emotions in ways we are not able to do on a normal basis. By having a new viewpoint on ourselves, it can allow us to take a step back and see our life in a new light. We are better able process how we handle our emotions and understand the importance and meaning of life. For me, writing gives me a sense of peace. It allows me to learn new things about myself, which I would have never realized. Though writing may seem like a simple task, for some, it can truly make all the difference.

  42. After reading The Parallax I completely understand why Dr. Rickert wanted the whole class to read it. It gives so much insight on so many different levels and in different perspectives. My favorite “take home point” is the encouragement to write. I have always enjoyed writing, and wrote more often as a child. After reading this book, I realized my parallax and that I need to get back into writing. Writing not only benefits the writer, but if the writer is willing to share then it can benefit the reader as well. Also, during the story, I tried to make connections with Frank and Sarah naturally, as I do with all of the books I read. This book made me realize how important it is to establish those connections instead of just think about them. Personally, I really enjoyed this book and I would recommend it to anyone.

  43. After reading Mason Stewart’s post I have a different view on self-reflection writing. To be honest, I never thought of self-reflection writing as a valuable tool. In fact, even after reading about it in The Parralax, I still wasn’t completely convinced that it was something that could benefit me personally. However, I think the insight in this post helped expand my thinking. It is intriguing to think that a situation can be observed vastly differently with two different perceptions. I think self-reflection writing can help us break down experiences in our own mind. This could not only provide opportunities for deeper understanding and basic reflection, but also provide instances to experience empathy and compassion. I think reflecting on experiences could help me see instances from other viewpoints and help me grow as a person. Finally, I think this post’s mention of how people perceive you and how you want to be perceived are sometimes far apart. I think it is important to be humble and sometimes take a step back to try to understand how other people see your own actions. I think that self-reflection can help you understand how other people see you, and help a person grow towards the person they want to be.

  44. What set The Parallax apart, for me, was the way the same story was looked at from different perspectives. It mirrors reality where many people will have different angles on an problem or situation. It takes self-awareness to be able to recognize that your perspective isn’t the only one at play and be able to empathize with others’ point of view. Different situations will have varying impacts on different people as well. This is demonstrated in The Parallax, when the 9/11 attacks trigger different emotions in Frank and Sarah. Frank and Sarah’s relationship had been having some problems due to lack of communication. This is a situation that most in relationships fear, making it relateable to the reader and prompting their own self-reflection. Through self-reflection Frank gradually develops empathy for Sarah.

  45. As “parallax” literally means, “an apparent change in perspective due to a change in position in view of an object,” and it really started to make me think about how I have started viewing myself in a different perspective, compared to how I saw myself several years ago. As events occur and changes are made in our life, change also occurs in ourselves. Over 5 years ago, I was still a straight A high-school student and did not think too much about it, as school was not too challenging for me at that point. I was still the youngest in my family, and for some reason thought that would never change. I remember feeling entitled to making my own decisions, despite not being an actual “adult” and I thought I always knew what was best. All of that quickly changed once I was able to be named one of the best titles on earth – an aunt. Quickly after my niece, Ava, was born, I realized it was not all about me anymore – the youngest, bratty child in the family. This new little girl changed my perspective in life as quick as the snap of your fingers. I instantly knew that I needed to be a better person FOR HER. I wanted to start working harder FOR HER. I wanted to be able to grow up and tell her stories about how I did things for myself and how I was so proud of the things I accomplished in life FOR HER. So although it took about 18 years for me to finally perceive myself as a different person than I was before, it’s better late than never I always say.
    So in this instance, Dr. Rickert’s book helped me realize that the change in position of an object was only myself – all due to a new life I wanted to make proud. To this day, she’s still my number one fan and I continuously work hard and keep her in my mind always.

  46. I do believe self-reflection, be it in writing or thought, is important to develop an idea of who you are. It’s something I’ve been doing more as I got further through school either as an assignment or just thinking to the future. As in the Parallax, it’s important to not just think it through from only your perspective. Trying to see the perspective of others in your interactions and how they might perceive you can really influence you and truly have an impact. I’ve heard phrases like “they think the world revolves around them,” which I now understand how it reflects the inconsideration of another person’s life. With everyone we interact with, we’re just a part of their life as they are of ours. I think that’s one of the most important reasons for self-reflection.

  47. I agree with Mason Stewart in this post when he says that writing for the purpose of self-reflection is something that most of us never get around to doing. I myself do not do this, but after reading The Parallax, I am considering doing so. I feel like most people consider it a waste of time, but after reading The Parallax I no longer think that. I use to have a diary when I was younger, and I enjoyed writing in my diary. I remember writing in my diary when I was sad or upset or even really happy or excited about something. I think keeping this diary was therapeutic for me. Reading my diary entries from the past is interesting. In The Parallax Bill says, “Things look different from a distance, whether that distance is of time or space. It’s only when we change our point-of-view that we gain perspective.” I can relate to this quote from Bill when I read my old diary entries. I have laughed many times while reading them. It is interesting to think about the things that use to make me mad or things that I would get really excited about. Gaining perspective as I have gotten older has really made me realize how good I had it when I was younger. I am considering keeping a diary or journal again. I think it would really help me deal with all the stress that school sometimes causes. I think writing in a journal will help me get all of my emotions out. It will also allow me to have something to look back at in the future and remember all the struggles I’ve gone through and seeing how far I have come.

  48. After reading the Parallax, I realized how much of a role writing can play in self-reflection. Growing up I loved to read, but hated to write. Writing assignments from school took me hours to complete. I would have to spend a lot of time thinking about what I had to write. Starting a writing assignment was the worst part because I couldn’t get my thoughts into words. In 11th grade we had an English teacher who made us write regular journal entries. He would offer up 2-3 prompts from which we could choose from to write about for the day. I remember having a great dislike for this class particularly because of this assignment. For the first few weeks I struggled to get a paragraph down. However, as time passed it was easier to write about my thoughts. When I would go back and read my entries I learned a lot about myself. I think that that is a major take home point from the Parallax. Writing is an avenue to self-reflection. It can help one learn more about themselves and can help them better themselves as we have seen in the Parallax.

  49. I enjoyed how memories were conveyed as a parallax here. Rickert defined a parallax “An apparent change in the direction of an object caused by a change in observational position that provides a new line of sight pg 22)”. Sarah changes the direction of Frank’s memory of Longs Peak from negative to positive when she offers her positive perspective of that memory. The trip itself was undoubtedly not enjoyable for both parties but Sarah chose to use a positive perspective and file it as a positive memory. The fact that this memory was able to be altered for Frank after so many years really home the importance and significance self reflection can have on my character. While its easier to try to escape from the past or be so hopeless and drown in it, it would be more effective to analyze it using varying perspectives and attempt to grow.

  50. I enjoyed the Parallax. I thought it would be just another required text for another required text, but as I read, I found myself wanting to find out what happened as the story progressed. I thought it odd that the father seemed so disconnected, then I realized that was his way of coping. If nothing else, the Parallax was a fun story that makes us think about how we act and react to certain scenarios life throws at us.

  51. The Parallax is about understanding the therapeutic nature of writing about one’s experiences. The protagonist of the main story writes about his experiences on his 25th wedding anniversary. The various characters write about their deeply held stories.

    I kept a journal every day for 5 years, and reading through it is a therapeutic experience. I remember myself at a younger age and I’m able to look back and laugh at myself and have the time-shifted version of the parallax that Dr. Rickert discusses in The Parallax. Writing therapy totally works.

    The Parallax was a quick easy read that made me reconsider starting my journal again.

  52. While I may find assigned writings a drudgery just as much as the other student, when it comes to self- reflection, I actually quite enjoy it. Self-reflection can give your life a new perspective and can often create new ideas and a new outlook on your life. Of course writing is not the only way one can self-reflect. However, as someone who learns through writing, I appreciated how the Parallax put particular emphasis on this method. As someone who also loves reading, I loved the way that this life lesson was portrayed in a captivating story that incorporated real human emotions to invoke a pathos response. I could just as easily have been a stagnant informative style handout on the benefits of writing to self-reflect. However, introducing us to characters we can relate to, drives the point home much more effectively.

  53. Before reading the Parallax, I really never appreciated writing for self reflection. But now i realize the importance of doing that. I found it interesting that two people who experienced the same thing could have two completely different points of view. I feel we could utilize self reflection as a way for people to better understand others.

  54. The Parallax was quite surprisingly an interesting read. The first half of the book was more gripping to myself as an avid reader, but the second half was well put in putting things in perspective. While I personally don’t prefer writing as a means to benefit therapeutically anymore, it is easy to see how it can be beneficial and would recommend it for anyone who never has. And while the story conveys self-reflection through writing as a means to cope with the struggles of one’s own life, The Parallax puts in perspective the idea of writing (or thinking) through the point of view of another individual, something I’ve never done on a personal level. Case in point, in the third chapter Carissa writes about Alzheimer’s through her newly deceased grandmother. The Parallax portrays many meanings and allows the reader to capture the viewpoints of the characters through different perspectives. Ultimately a person may interpret the moral of this story however they please, I will interpret it as this- do not judge a man until you walked a mile in their hiking boots.

  55. The Parallax was quite surprisingly an interesting read. The first half of the book was more gripping to myself as an avid reader, but the second half was well put in putting things in perspective. While I personally don’t prefer writing as a means to benefit therapeutically anymore, it is easy to see how it can be beneficial and would recommend it for anyone who never has. And while the story conveys self-reflection through writing as a means to cope with the struggles of one’s own life, The Parallax puts in perspective the idea of writing (or thinking) through the point of view of another individual, something I’ve never done on a personal level. Case and point, in the third chapter Carissa writes about Alzheimer’s through the perspective of her newly deceased grandmother. The Parallax portrays many meanings and allows the reader to capture the viewpoints of the characters through different perspectives. Ultimately, a person may interpret the moral of this story however they please, I will interpret it as this: do not judge a man until you walked a mile in their hiking boots.

  56. Since coming to STLCOP, I have had a wide variety of experiences. I can without a doubt say that I have had a unique experience here at the college. Through StrengthsQuest, I learned that I have a rather dominant area in the domain where harmony and empathy lie. I have spent the past three years really getting in touch with my Strengths and learning who I am. Because of this, I learned that self-reflection was a big part of the job. The past three years has been full of self-reflection, whether in writing or just thinking. While reading the Parallax, I felt as though I was the one in the story. With empathy as one of my top 5 strengths, I can really place myself in another persons shoes, whether I have experienced the situation or not. Now I know this is book, but when there is deep-seeded empathy it can happen. I truly enjoyed reading the Parallax.

  57. STLCOP is a college experience unlike any other. A lot of colleges will have a more nonchalant feel to them; however, at STLCOP you are forced to “grow up” at an exponentially faster rate than most colleges. You are, proverbially, “thrown to the wolves” in a sense that you enter in an accelerated doctor program when you are 18 years-old. The level of maturity needs to come with this newly owned responsibility is staggering, but attainable. You make yourself see things in a different light living and interacting with new people who are going on this same alteration as you. this makes for a unique dynamic that molds each student differently, but in the same way. We have students coming here who have never interacted with people of other races or whom have never truly had to interact with another culture. To most people, this doesn’t seem to be a big deal, since they have been doing it their entire life, but to the person from a one stoplight town, with 100 people, this could be a whole new experience. This, at times, can create some tension between the class at first; never the less, when these people get to their newly found sense of self that is rooted deeply in their new responsibility, most people tend to develop an understanding of how this new dynamic shapes their lives. The Parallax reminds us that not everyone has the same upbringing or cultural diversity that we have in our individual lives, but it is learned that people are different when placed into the same community, if you will.

  58. After reading The Parallax, I have also learned how valuable writing down a self-reflection can be. I often will lay in bed at night and over think about my past experiences. Most of the time, I look back on sad or embarrassing memories and wish that I could change the past. I used to think of this as a weakness because I thought this habit was a waste of time. I can’t actually change the past after all. However, The Parallax has taught me that reflection is not a weakness but a strength. Just as Frank had new insight by reliving his memories, I too can learn from my past. By actually writing it down, it can change how you self-reflect. The best example of this in the story was when during the workshop, the character Nicole decided to write about her grandfather whose death had impacted her greatly. Nicole decided to write through the viewpoint of her grandfather which helped her to understand “how selfish I’d been.” I think that by writing down memories instead of just reliving them in your mind, you are able to be creative (like writing from another person’s perspective) which can help you learn a lot.

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