Reading and Writing

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:

  1. Person–whose story you’re telling
  2. Vantage point–from what perspective you are telling that story
  3. 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?

Voice

“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.

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About Donna Strobridge Ianni

RPCV Philippines '67-'69
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