On the first day of the Citizen Police Academy, each of us was handed a card with an indistinguishable black and white photo on it. We were told to keep looking at it until the subject became clear. First one, then another of my classmates raised their hands.
It wasn't long before nearly everyone else but me figured out what was in the photo. Finally, someone took pity and told me what I was supposed to see in the optical illusion -- the head of a cow. Of course. It seems so obvious now. Can you see it?
The police officers were trying to make the point that things aren't always what they seem -- and if you look at them from a different perspective, you may see something totally different from what you initially thought. Very important to remember in police work (and in mystery fiction). Then the Police Chief said, "It's like that arrow in FedEx -- once you see it, you always will."
I had no idea what he was talking about, but for weeks I stared at the FedEx delivery trucks parked outside the FedEx/Kinko's next to my gym. I've walked around them and looked from every angle. I still couldn't see it, but I figured the Police Chief wasn't lying. So I kept looking.
And then finally last week, there it was -- clear as day. How could I have missed it? Can you see it now, too, thanks to the beige coloring on the arrow?
It made me think of my husband's favorite sayings -- "Perspective: Use it or lose it." I try to remember these words of wisdom when it IS important to see the forest for the trees -- whether it be in my writing life or my personal life.
Do you find that sometimes stepping away from things, changing the perspective -- and your perception -- can help when you're stymied with your writing? That may mean taking a walk, putting your WIP aside for a few days, or having someone else take a look at it, for example.
Another kind of perspective I've been thinking about a lot recently is how sometimes our problems don't seem so huge when compared to what what others are experiencing. I think about my friend maintaining a vigil by her husband's side since mid-March when he became critically ill, and nearly died, the day after their daughter's destination wedding in Jamaica. I think about the girl a family law judge told our Citizen Police Academy about -- sexually molested by three different men: her father, then her stepfather and finally his brother -- all before she turned 15. Or the woman who told the same judge she couldn't go looking for work until she could afford to buy a pair of shoes.
Perspective: Use it or lose it. I think I'll "use" it. How about you?
And if you could still "use" a little help to see the cow, take a look now: