It is quite amazing to see how much of an effect The Parallax has had on everyone that has read it, and how it helped people realize the “power of writing”. I have always enjoyed writing. Back in high school, my favorite classes were english/literature classes. The disappointing thing about college is that there aren’t very many classes that allow us to freely and creatively write. The disappointing thing about many people today, is that writing is a lost art. Many people don’t realize that writing is the basis for many other things such as music, lyrics, theater, and movies. It is people’s ability to write freely and creatively that allow these things to come together. It is discouraging that today people no longer enjoy writing, and reading as well. It is important for us to stress to future generations that writing is a great way to express oneself and control one’s emotions and worries. One great thing about free writing, is that it allow you to go back and re-read your thoughts and feelings and “re-live” them if you please. This is why I find writing to be such a powerful way of expressing yourself.
I agree with other readers of the parallax in that the author has created a very intriguing story and one that can bring goose bumps to your arms because of the reality. We all can connect to the setting because everyone remembers what they were doing on 9/11. It is very easy to connect to the personal struggles of the Beck family and even those struggles of those who attended the writing seminar. I felt as though I was a part of the family watching the tv in the cabin and also there at the seminar relating my personal experiences with the members at my table. Seeing yourself with new understanding can take on many meanings but I believe that it is truly in regards to accepting truths and realties even if that decision is one of unpopular consequences. Emotion can get the best of you and truth can be your immediate enemy because of negative perceived consequences. On the other side it is also your long term solution to peace and harmony. Sometimes it takes deep insight to realize that the truth is the correct path and this deep insight can sometimes only be brought out in therapeutic writing sessions. Writing for therapeutic purposes is like singing in the shower, it allows you to express yourself without the doubts of immediate harsh criticisms.
The Parallax, a story within a story within a story, tells many different things. Most importantly, it tells us how much people suffer unnecessarily, simply because they fail to grasp other perspectives than their own. Frank Beck misinterprets the situation surrounding his father’s death so that he will walk through life with the guilt of being responsible for it. Frank Beck also misinterprets the situation when his wife’s illness becomes apparent only to establish a marital disconnect that will last for decades. One could say that much sorrow comes from misinterpreting the expressions and reactions of others. Communication with others receives an additional meaning – it should serve as provider of multiple angles at the same setting. Someone else’s viewpoint can rectify much, just as can introspection (does it have to be written?). As a result we may leave old and obsolete positions. The story shows us that this is frequently prompted by events that overwhelm us with emotions. I’m convinced that events of much, much smaller scale than 9/11 can trigger us to discover the parallax!
It was a typical spring morning in Emporia, Kansas on May 11th,1921, when Mary White, daughter of noted journalist William Allen White, mounted her horse for a morning ride. Across the country in Atlantic City, Mr. White himself was having a typical morning when he picked up a telegram at his hotel where he was staying while on one of his frequent political trips. As a political journalist, he was accustomed to messages throughout his day; so when an urgent telegram came, he took no pause. However, his world changed as he read what his wife, Sallie, had written: “I need you…”
Mary had been knocked off her horse. Two days later, Mr. White would find solace from that distinction. She had not fallen from the horse. A low-hanging branch had stuck her in the head, knocking her from the horse. She died from the blow to her head. On the day of Mary’s funeral he sat at his typewriter, pounding out an editorial, an epitaph of sorts, which would run not only in the Emporia Gazette, but would be reprinted in hundreds of newspapers across the globe. In his sorrow he confronted his grief, “The Associated Press carrying the news of Mary White’s death declared that it came as the result of a fall from a horse. How she would have hooted at that!” Years later William Allen White would reflect, “If I have any fame beyond my death, it will come from the Mary White editorial.” He continued, recognizing the verisimilitude of what he had written, years before, in his grief, “I shall go as far as I go along the path where Mary’s hand may lead me.”
William Allen White was a journalist. Writing was his profession, but I doubt that his journalistic prowess had much to do with his need to write about his daughter’s death. You don’t have to be a writer to achieve the positive therapeutic results that writing has to offer. Frank Beck, a fictional character in my book, The Parallax, discovers this secret. Participants in my workshops and readers of the book have discovered it as well. They tell me that they had never previously thought of themselves as writers and yet, after being presented with the idea of writing as therapy, have experienced the positive benefits from their writing. I urge you to do the same. Discover the secret. And when you do, I invite you to share this experience with me, becoming an inspiration and a model for others.