Dull brown rocks over dusty, dry sand. That’s what you see from the outside.
But if you take the time to get to know her, to see what she’s like on the inside, behind the rough, hard, monochromatic facade and really explore who she is, you’ll be able to see her beauty.
Tsé bighánílíní, the Navajo name for this part of Antelope Canyon, Arizona, means “the place where water runs through rock”.
How often do we make judgments about individuals based on exterior appearances—it’s just a rock, a hill of dirt? How often do we make judgments based on classifications and stereotypic labels–they’re a Muslim, a Jew, an African American, a democrat, an environmentalist, a homosexual. The list can go on . . . and on . . . and on.
In fiction, authors may hide what’s beneath a character’s facade for a little while, but eventually, they will point their flashlight into the cracks between the boulders and direct readers toward concealed mysteries. We readers leap into that abyss eager to discover the subtle lights and darknesses of the character’s inner life. We value delving beneath surface actions. We yearn to uncover, to understand, the complex motivations that form the bedrock of the character’s personality. When we meet a persona on the page, a view of his or her external life, by itself, is not sufficient. We demand to experience, with all our well-tuned senses, the character’s heart and soul.
Why can’t we do the same when we meet someone off the page?
Let’s not miss the opportunity to look beneath the surface of our fellow human beings. Sure, we may not always like what we see, but often we’ll find something we can value and/or admire. And just perhaps, looking beneath the surface will enrich our own lives.
Marjorie Brody is an award-winning author and Pushcart Prize Nominee. Her short stories appear in literary magazines and the Short Story America Anthology, Vols. I, II and III. Her debut psychological suspense novel, TWISTED, was awarded an Honorable Mention at the 2013 Great Midwest Book Festival and won the Texas Association of Authors 2014 Best Young Adult Fiction Book Award. TWISTED is available in digital and print at http://tinyurl.com/cvl5why or http://tinyurl.com/bqcgywl. Marjorie invites you to visit her at www.marjoriespages.com.