The Shooter



18 thoughts on “The Shooter

  1. This is wonderful — words so precisely chosen and arranged that there is no excess, no need for any more to illustrate this scene. Much like the photographer herself, perhaps? I particularly adore the sentence, “Studied your face as though reading code.” 🙂

    • … placed these two together and then what happened? You know Harold the entire time writing this I was thinking of the photographer being in a shop belonging to the man with the secrets. Just now it occurred to me the scene could also be taking place in her studio. These incidents, they are always changing.

    • It’s funny – the studio makes sense. In editing down a scene sometimes I completely eliminate elements that I’m clearly visualizing. In my mind the setting was important but the focus was entirely on the characters and exchange. On the one hand there’s an editing lesson here for me. On the other, I become more and more aware of how differently every viewer or reader interprets a work. Thanks for your comment!

  2. As much as I liked and responded to the poem, I also liked and felt reinforced by your comment to Pleasant Street above, Chris. I used to feel like I’d missed the point when I saw something in a poem, a piece of art, a ballet that others didn’t note or saw differently. Gradually, I’ve come to accept that what I see is what I see and I don’t have to worry about being correct. Your comment reinforced my thinking.

    • There is no denying we all see and read things differently. It doesn’t matter what I say – boat, cow, shed, falling snow – the image conjured in your mind will be different than the one in mine. That’s magic. The best we can do as artists and writers is lead people into the landscape, introduce them to characters. If I’m trying to convey a particular concept or mood – I do hope that is captured (but it’s often not! and that’s okay too). This one was particularly interesting for me because as soon as Harold mentioned the studio – a light went on (or a copper bell rang). Of course that will appear to be the setting! In initial drafts she actually left the shop – and was followed (by the narrator who was given a nod by the sitter). I cut all that back because in the sketch I was interested in the character studies and the moment of tension. There’s a beauty in all the interpretations – an expansion of the work. I might feel quite different if I was writing documentary. Thanks Janet.

      • Perception of an concrete object is open to interpretation as well. If I say I saw a black and white spotted dog you may envision a white dog with black spots although the picture I was trying to convey was a black dog with white spots. Quite a bit of our “picture” is shaped by our past experiences, what we expect to see in context, and how open we are to ideas. The problem (if it is a problem at all) is not just a human problem, but extends to machines as well. If a machine such as a scanner sees something out of context and feeds it to an OCR application the context it “sees” can lead to a false result. The best example I can think of at the moment is the letter B will usually be interpreted as a B if it is mixed with a bunch of letters, but presented with numerals will often be “translated” to “13.” Poems happily are not bound by algorithms; we are allowed to attach our own feelings and experiences to them.

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