Through the Eyes of my Children by Frances L. Stone happens to be the first book I received via inter-library loan from my terrific local librarian. In fact, I’m still reading and once completed I will submit an official book review.
Initially, I was not excited about this book as I had read that it was written for the “youth market”. The Stones served as a family and much of the book is written from the children’s perspective or ‘point of view’. I changed my mind when I saw that there was a Vermont connection. A rather close connection to me in fact, as one of the family members actually attended a Vermont State College during the time that I worked at the same college. Although, I don’t believe that we ever actually met.
The book also has another connection to me; they served the second portion of their Peace Corps service in Baguio. I served in Baguio from in the late 60’s and the Stones were there in the early 70’s.
Once I started reading and hearing the voices of the children I realized I had questions about my own memoirs ‘point of view’ and voice. A little research was in order.
Point of View: Has three dimensions:
- Person–whose story you’re telling
- Vantage point–from what perspective you are telling that story
- Attitude—feelings you want to convey regarding that story
My Questions: Should I tell the story from the perspective of my younger self in the framework of the time (late 60’s)? Should I use the slangs words of the time? Should I use my rather naive and limited vocabulary?
“Most commonly the voice in autobiographic narrative is a combination of your younger self as protagonist in the past and your older self as narrator in the present.”
“The reader must have a sense that the narrator is rooted in a particular moment from which he or she may look back…”
My Question: How do I best combine my older and younger self?
My answers–Point of View: First, I am the person telling my story. Second, I would like to tell it from the perspective of the person I was at that time using the language of the time. Thirdly, I want to convey my naïve, innocent self. I want to show my loneliness as well as my bonds with the training group and my new family. I want to show my amazement and wonder with all the new things I encounter. Finally I would like to convey my growth over the two year span. That means I’ll us “Nam” instead of “The Vietnam War”. I may have to footnote it or have a slang directory.
My answers—Voice: This will be more difficult for me to integrate into the narrative. I have read that a common method is to add musings. There are times when I would like to add a musing as my younger self and other time it would be as my older self. I’ll need to work on this.