Wearing and writing through glasses? Your personality can bring a story alive. But, it also functions as a lens.

Writing through Glasses graphic with mural in background

What glasses do you wear?

We’re all writing through glasses of some sort. Our world-view, personality, and life experiences affect our writing.[1] Intentionally or not, we provide readers with a filter or lens.

This means that when you write about your memories, your writing is the filter through which your loved ones will come to understand the episodes of your past.

Perhaps the question makes more sense now. What type of glasses do you wear? What type of filter to do you lend to your readers?

Writing through Glasses

Writing through glasses that are rose colored

Most of us are familiar with writing through rose-colored glasses.

My grandmother wore rose-colored glasses as she wrote about her relatives. Like a southern version of Lake Wobegon, the women were strong, the men were wise, and all the children were above average.

Those weren’t the only glasses she wore, however. She also wore “Granny Glasses.” You know the kind–the ones that allow an older woman to teach through the loving way she tells her stories. Through these lenses, her grandchildren don’t just read what happened. They read why the events were important.

Likewise, her descriptions of relatives also teach. For instance, grandma didn’t describe people in terms of attractiveness. They were “merry” or had “laughing eyes,” because that was the important thing for us to understand about them.

As I compile my memories and stories, I wonder about the glasses I wear. I wonder how my writing filters past events.

Writing through glasses even funny ones.

Yep, that’s me.

Without a doubt, I often wear a comic’s glasses. Humor is a filter I use unconsciously. But, if I took the time to think about it, I’d be okay with those glasses.

If I’m honest—and I often am—I’ll admit the whole idea of writing through glasses intimidating. I’m not sure my personality is the ideal lens. Some aspects of my character would do more to distort than allow enlighten. Theoretically, I’d like all my lenses to be Polaroids. They should eliminate glare and allow the reader to see things clearly.

Writing without Glasses

Sometimes our glasses apply our values to another person’s story. These values can cause us to “read” things into their stories that aren’t there. For instance, I’m very social by nature. When I write, I have to try to put this filter aside. I can’t assume that someone who lives alone is lonely or discontent.

That doesn’t mean I’ll use no filters at all. My personality can’t be pushed aside as easily as eyeglasses can be. I might wonder if someone is lonely, but I won’t assume that they are.

Your Turn

What glasses will you wear as you write about your memories?

[1] Tom Jenks, “Personality and the Writer,” Narrative Magazine, accessed April 13, 2014, http://www.narrativemagazine.info/pages/pers.htm.

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