The call came on a Wednesday morning. They were a group whose guest speaker had suddenly taken ill and was in hospital, and could I come and take his place. And when might that be? The very next day.
Well, they say it’s best to be flexible in life and so, I did it. My topic was A Crusader for Preserving History and while it was short notice – this was as short as it gets – I did manage to bring some books and give them an hour of my schtick which sort of goes like this.
First, put them at ease and offer to speak to their book clubs; this particular group had four of them! Then explain that I’m a writer who talks about heroes, history and ‘perspective.’ What does that mean?
Remember the movie ‘Back to the Future?’ It takes place in 1985 and Marty McFly returns to the 1950s where he tells the crazy scientist played by Christopher Lloyd about the future.
“Who’s the President in 1985?” Lloyd asks.
“Ronald Reagan,” McFly says.
“The actor?” replies the surprised Lloyd. “Who’s the Vice President? Jerry Lewis?”
Funny as that exchange was then, it doesn’t seem so far-fetched now. In 2018. Because it’s all about perspective. We’ve been there, we’ve seen the future and anything is possible.
That accomplished, the presentation continues with a discussion about my books – fiction and non-fiction – and the hero in each of them. And not losing sight of this thing called perspective.
Perspective means you can be a college student who just saw the film ‘Dunkirk’ and loved it, but you don’t know who Winston Churchill was.
Perspective means you can be a refugee from a war-torn country who comes to the West only to wonder what everyone is complaining about over here.
Perspective means you can be a woman who’s fed up with a lifetime of men taking advantage and so, you take part in a march and carry a sign that says ‘Men ruin everything’ and really believe it.
It’s all about perspective. But alas, each of us has different experiences and tends to reach conclusions based on what we know, what we’ve done or what we were told. This could be why so many people hate so many other people. And yet, perspective is a two-edged sword. On one hand, it can open up the world and on the other it can be a killer.
In a court proceeding they start with a Statement of Facts which is a good starting point as long as we realize that an apple is an apple and a banana is a banana. However, nowadays that is fast becoming a blur with so many charlatans out there who put their own fanciful spin on history with alternative facts, fake news, what have you.
Which makes the Statement of Facts more important than ever.