When I meet someone new, it is not unusual for my mind to form “judgments” or “conclusions” about him or her. Before I can count to three, I’ve made up my mind in some way. Once I have this inner judgment, I log it as “true” unless or until I learn otherwise. First impressions are powerful and I wonder how many times they are correct? I’m guessing there are a few studies.
How certain can you be about what you actually see? What filters do you wear as you view something? I know there have been tales of five individuals witnessing an event and, afterwards, each one relates it differently. Interesting.
Years ago, I was hiking in a designated wilderness area. I don’t wear my glasses while hiking. As I passed this grassy meadow, I was certain I spied two white horses, grazing in the relative distance. What a lovely sight! Returning along the same path hours later, I realized that it wasn’t two white horses grazing, it was two large white immobile boulders! If you’d have asked me, I would have sworn that I’d seen these two beautiful white horses.
As an observer and writer, I have an active imagination and can fill in the details around someone or something without having facts to substantiate what I conclude!
Here’s an opportunity for you to practice constructing a story based solely on what you see. Select a photo of a person in a magazine–National Geographic?–any magazine with great photos of people is desirable.
Tear out the photo or copy it so there are no distracting elements aside from the picture you are studying. Using image detail, describe every aspect of the person in the photo. Clothing, expression, age, coloring, a “dissonant detail”, etc. What are you assuming about this person based on the photo? Write that down also. Make up a story based entirely on what you see.