An Unedited Piece I wrote During Rachael Herron's Amazing Writing Class in Venice Italy, 2018
When the observer becomes the observed can be looked at as a dance between two partners. Although I didn’t experience that when I was observing, I have experienced it many times in the past, as I labeled myself a people watcher in my 20’s and 30’s.
There is something haunting and beautiful about this imagery, this exchange of energy. When we observe other people we are adding narratives to their lives that don’t truly exist. They may exist for someone somewhere but not for the person or people we are watching.
What then is our story as seen and interpreted by the outsider? Who are we if we are watched, judged and juried by our peers without even a word exchanged. Am I ever seen as a magical fairy princess by a child? A martyr or spinster by a man? A mother of fifteen children by a nun? Is there something in every single one of us that carries a kernel of truth by the observed? Everyone has a story, real or imagined. Everyone has a past, full of wants, desires, suffering, joy and love. So there’s the commonality of it all. Humans trying to make sense of each other in whatever way we can. And what are the different ways each person observes? Does one look at you and think “she reminds me of my sister or my mother or a teacher I had in fifth grade.” Does another think, “I wonder what her life is like or if I could walk a day in her shoes.” Does a third have a blank slate and only see what we’re wearing and register our eyes?
What do I notice in another person? What stories do I make up? What stories do I tell? Am I looking at everyone as a potential character in a book or as a blank canvas of which to add the paint, the touches of color, the burnt sienna of their long hair, the crystalline ocean wave of their eyes, the majestic way of their carriage? Is what I notice from each person different, depending on them or dependent on myself and my mood? My thoughts of the moment? Do I see their clothes or their life? And even when we know someone, someone we’ve conversed with for as long as we can remember, do we truly know them? Or do we only know what they want to show us, what they want us to see?
This always leads me back to my father who has never truly seen me and it’s as much my fault as his. I pretended, my entire life, to be someone he would love and be proud of, yet he never did and he never was. I was a story he told and a false one at that. I was a made up caricature and it hurt me to my core.
So how am I different? Making up stories for all who surround me? For those I know and love to those I only watch while they pass. The woman and her dog? I deemed her cruel or too old to care for him. Too out of touch with his feelings. Such is life, merely a story we tell ourselves.
Author Chloe Adler
Here are some musings - Nothing fancy - no outline and no editor - just some stream of consciousness. You want to read my books? :)