Tuesday, June 26, 2012 | By: HiDee

Unique Perspectives

Outwit. Outlast. Outplay. 

Survivor casting calls are coming to my town. My husband, knowing I love the show, suggested I apply. I knew he was only joking, but his suggestion earned him a dirty look anyway. I'd never make it on Survivor. The first time I saw a snake or spider and screamed bloody murder, they'd vote me out. They wouldn't wait for tribal council. And if they did let me hang around, the bugs would probably get me. If not the bugs, then the water. I can't swim underwater without holding my nose. What good would I be in a challenge?

Maybe I could just tag along as part of the camera crew and observe, under the guise of research.

Imagine being forced to live in a remote location with a group of strangers, and no amenities. Knowing it's temporary would not necessarily be helpful. Some people can deal with anything for a short amount of time. Others are not that adaptable. How many contestants remain true to themselves, playing the game the same way they live their lives? How many contestants do whatever it takes, justifying their actions because they are, after all, playing the game? And how many contestants have regrets about how they played the game once it's over?

The writer in me is fascinated by people. Our life experiences shape our thoughts and behaviors, molding us into individuals. Our differences, and our likenesses, generate conflict within our lives.

I learned that firsthand. A few years ago, my siblings and I were alerted that my biological father had pancreatic cancer. We quickly made arrangements to travel to visit him in the hospital. None of us had seen him in years. Two short weeks later, he passed away, and we attended the funeral. Over those two weeks, we spent long hours talking about our biological father - how we felt about him, our questions - with and without answers, our hopes and our regrets. That time was a real eye-opener for me.  I was shocked that my siblings had totally different memories of times we had all spent together than I had. They had different thoughts, different questions, and different feelings about him than I did. How, I wondered, could three people who experienced the same events have such different opinions of them?

We all have a unique perspective. Many things contribute to making us who we are: our age, the way we grew up, the traditions passed down through generations (or not) of our families, and our own personal successes and failures, to name a few. When I create characters, I try to keep all these things in mind.

Survivor sparks my imagination. Watching the cast as they try to manipulate their tribe mates, wondering what they will come up with next, and wondering what event will turn the momentum in another direction keeps me interested.

I am a different kind of survivor. I am a writer. My challenge?

Outwrite. Outline. Outplot.