Friday, April 11, 2014

J: Juxtapose (A-Z Blog Challenge: Evocative words)


Neat word. It totally looks made up. Pose, I get. "To place in a desired position." But "Juxta"? Probably excellent for Scrabble with J and X in the same word, but what a weird combination of letters! It sounds like the name of a Star Wars alien.


It's an interesting concept as well, the way a simple rearrangement of objects can make you perceive them very differently.

I can look at my almost seven year old girl and think, "Gosh, she's still so tiny." But then, if we juxtapose her position on the sofa, so she's next to her brand new baby cousin, she's going to seem huge. The contrast really changes your perspective.

It's an important concept in art and ideas as well.  What paintings are displayed next to what paintings makes a difference in how I view them, in what I notice. How I feel about what I'm reading or viewing is colored by whatever else I have recently viewed or read.

It's vital as a writer. A writer-friend of mine advises that writers need to read a variety of things. The magic happens, he says, when disparate ideas bump up against each other in your brain.

I agree.

My first novel came from this sort of juxtaposition. The idea came when that almost-seven-year-old was a newborn. We were at the supermarket. As many mothers do, I placed her carseat in the car, left the car door open and crossed the few feet to the cart corral, then returned. I had this unreasonable fear though that I would be hit by a car in the parking lot.

So, that was one idea.

I had been reading a bit about schizophrenia, hoping to better
understand what was going on with some people I care about.

That was another idea.

Someone else I care about was trying (unsuccesfully) to get pregnant. So, I was thinking and reading about fertility as well.

That was the third idea.

Juxtapose these ideas in Samantha's brain and press "blend." Voila! You have yourself a novel. His Other Mother (currently in its next round of publication limbo, being considered for publication).

I love how the brain works!
This post is part of the Blogging from A-Z Challenge.

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