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  • Pearl Lorentzen

A writer's and a character's worldview are not the same

As a writer, I find it useful to analyze some of my experiences to understand my assumptions about how the world works and what life experience made me think this way. I do this for several reasons, one of them being I can't not over-analyze everything. A more productive reason is that I will likely write characters with different lived experience than mine and so they will have different expectations of how the world works. If I get this aspect of their worldview incorrect, the characters will likely be unbelievable.


One example of how being raised on the Canadian prairies shaped my worldview is I make a correlations between temperature and day length.


A few years ago, I was in Japan for the summer. The weather was hot and humid, but the days were only about 13 hours. I told someone that I wished the days were longer. He assumed I meant hotter, but it had nothing to do with heat.


I'm accustomed to summer days that continue to 11:30 p.m. and start before any sane person is up. This year, I started fishing and my fishing buddies met at 5:30 a.m. or sometimes a bit later.


Early in the summer, the sun was up before we arrived. The last time in late August, I took the above picture of the sunrise.

Sunrise in August. Photo by Pearl Lorentzen.

I have yet to visit places where the sun doesn't set in the summer, but even living further north in Alberta the days are longer. For people coming to the far north or far south, the variation between summer and winter days could seem almost mystical.


For me, the regularity of 12 hour or close to 12 hour days year round boggles my mind.


Also, the prairies have long twilights, sunrises, and sunsets. I've driven south for what felt like almost an hour while the sunset in the southwest. When I watch a movie and the scene cuts to a light scene to a night scene it seems unrealistic. Sometimes, it is, but there are places like that where sunset is almost like turning off a light bulb.


Geography growing up also shaped my perception of directions.


In Alberta, there are times when the sun rises and sets in the north - summer. In the winter, it travels in the south. There is still an east to west progression, but the predominate position of the sun remains north or south. Closer to the spring and fall equinox the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.


Also, the Rocky Mountains are west of where I grew up. Just barely visible on a clear day. West is the proper location for mountains. Also, I love expansive skies and being able to see grass for miles. I sometimes get claustrophobic in mountains.


On a side note, self reflection can also be therapeutic, help one know oneself better, and grow as a person.

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