Every time I talk to my sisters about events in the past–sometimes even events in the recent past–I’m struck by how differently we see things. There’s a story we all tell about our mother, for instance, and everyone in my family tells it differently. (My mother’s version of the story insists that she wasn’t even the one who made the decision.)
For the most part, we’re all the heroes of our own tale. We make sense of the world in relation to us. Our world revolves around ourselves, even if we try to be cognizant of the fact that not everyone feels the same way. Even if we try not to be selfish, everyone is inevitable self-centered, at least in so far as their point of view is stuck behind their eyes. Someone tells me what I said and did a few months ago, and their view of it is colored indelibly by their point of view. And while I sometimes hear their account in surprise (I did what? I said what? Surely not!) I have to recognize that my glasses (permanently tinted rose, at least with regards to myself) are affixed.
One of the things I wanted to do with Unveiled (and the sequels involving the other Turner brothers) was explore this phenomenon. Everyone’s the hero of their own tale. I don’t think it’s possible to ever bring accounts of “what happened” into perfect harmony. It’s just not a resolvable problem.
It’s interesting to me now, as I finish touching up Unclaimed–Mark’s story–because I wonder whether people will try to sync up Mark’s view of things with Ash’s. Mark and Ash mention the same stories, but not quite in the same way. I wonder whether people will think that’s a feature or a bug.
The obvious “for instance”: No matter how old Mark gets, Ash will always see him as his little brother, someone who needs to be protected. When Mark is seventy years old, Ash will still be looking out for him, and getting annoyed because Mark failed to mention that he was going on a trip for a few days, and what if something had happened to him? In Unveiled, Ash identifies specific ways in which he needs to protect his brother. But like most grown men, Mark doesn’t think he needs to be protected at all….