Otter-dogs 85: I’m me

A friend said to me recently that point of view is the single most important question in storytelling. That wasn’t at the top of my mind when I wrote this, because I do have a long history of being frozen by the idea that I will never be anyone else, but it must have been simmering there underneath the surface, waiting to merge with other ideas for it came back to me just as I was uploading this. Comics, for me, don’t hold as much power in the point of view department as other mediums. I don’t think, for example, that we become Peter Parker when reading a Spider-man comic, no matter how compelling the first person banter-narration-voice-over is. We are positioned on his side, sure. We get slightly more insight into his world, but we don’t really get to be him in the way that we would if he was in prose form. Maybe a comic happens more outside of our head then. I guess, in that sense, comics are more like the experience of reading a play than a novel.

Partly the comment about being stuck in our own point of view comes from re-reading Elizabeth Knox’s Dreamhunter and Dreamquake. She calls her dreamhunters who can perform dreams in multiple points of view, “novelists”. This got me thinking about whether novels can provide a true immersion in a character’s point of view, like, perhaps, a dream can, or whether we are still ultimately ourselves when we read. I think our self is always there. My self is. Lurking.

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