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
We started up the trail, meeting other couples along the way with looks of dread and needfulness cast on their faces, exchanging glances with us as they passed that echoed a shared sense of knowing, a reordering of priorities.
–Frank Beck, The Parallax
Searching For Things
“My dad said, the way I saw the world was a gift.” The words of Oskar Schell, the child who captivated us in the best-selling book and Academy Award nominated “Best Picture of 2011,” Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, resonate with all of us. We are all searching for something and like Oskar we begin to understand that having the key doesn’t immediately help us know what can be unlocked. Oskar’s quest “pushes our emotional buttons.” We recognize ourselves in his need to find things. We understand his yearning. We share his emotion.
Clarence, a character in The Parallax, recognizes this fact when he says, “You could have been anywhere and affected by 9/11.” That day was a watershed moment for everyone, regardless of their location. Think about it. Most of us can describe in vivid detail what we were doing when we learned of the terrorist attack and how we reacted to it. I, personally, was waiting for a commuter train at the Memorial Hospital Metrolink station in Belleville, Illinois. I remember the emotions of the people riding the train, interacting with one another as they had never done before. It was as if we were a family and had just learned that other members of our family had been hurt. I don’t think I’d ever experienced the sharing of emotions that occurred that day. I suspect that nearly everyone has a story of what they were doing on September 11th, 2001, because that day will forever be part of our social consciousness.
Brad Paisley tells us in his hit song, Find Yourself, that although we may go through life thinking we know who we are, it is when we are lost that it is most possible to find yourself. Frank and Sarah, characters in The Parallax, were married for twenty-five years. Did they really know one another? Do you really know who you are? Frank and Sarah found themselves in a distant place, the Colorado Rockies, when their world was shaken. I thought about the many ways that 9/11 might have impacted people on that day, and used the tragic event as a backdrop for my story, The Parallax. I sensed that although everyone was impacted differently, readers could connect with the shared experience of that horrific day. You don’t need the events of 9/11 to “find yourself.”Use the gift of seeing things differently. Discover what’s important to you. Embark on the journey, identifying those things you value, the places you enjoy, the things you treasure, and, most importantly, the people you care about; and envision your life in a new way.