Lesson of the Day: Point of View

By Zine Instructor Shaun

Whether consciously or unconsciously, an artist always takes a perspective in creating a piece.  A photographer chooses an angle, a writer chooses a point of view.

It’s one of the many literary concepts we cover in Zine.

Traditionally, there are three points of view.

First person (I, we)

Second person (you)—rare

and Third Person (he, she, they).

In Zine, I work to get young people writing about their emotions, their stories and who they are. Consequently, most of the writing that happens in zine is in the first person, intimating the author’s experiences.

Every so often, I ask zine interns to write from a different “I”.

In the case of this activity, I asked them to choose a person that’s marginalized by society and write from their perspective. To do this, youth writers had to use a combination of their imagination and their own experiences to intuit the thoughts of “the other”.

They put their pens to page and set out on a writer’s bold and difficult task to give voice to society’s voiceless. Here’s what they came up with:

 Marginal Voices

1.)  I am the one you see on the street corner every day, but you won’t even talk to me. Every day you see me you look at me in disgust and you say “get a job” or I’m sorry. if more people cared about life and the people in it, we wouldn’t have people like you, always making fun of me because of the way I look or even just the way I dress. My grandmother used to tell me that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. NOW IT’S YOUR TURN BE THE BETTER PERSON!!!!

2.) Holding this cardboard expression,
I remember the first time I did. Losing all hope remembering when I was a kid. Grown- ups quote, “stay in school, be a kid. Not small, dream big. Pour all your heart in it and see if it lives .”

But life happened. Life gave me this cardboard
I just stole the pen to carve my cry for help.
Cracked glass, I mean broken dreams
Don’t step on them– I’m still looking.

3.) As I sit here on this hard ass cot, waiting for my name to be called, I’m thinking about what I did to get myself here. I’m wanting to go back to that day when I made the choice that would change my life forever. I’m  thinking about how the world is going to be  in 2027. Is it going to be the same, felons and convicts can’t get a job or move forward with their lives, even after they already served their time and been categorized as screw ups, or will it be different? As I sit here  on this hard ass cot in this 8×4 ft cell and they call my name Inmate 1997521. I realize that once I get out ill never be the civilian Robert Alex Young. I’ll always be Inmate 1997521.


Thanks for writing, ziners. And thanks for reading, readers.

If inspired, sometime today, pick someone YOU see society marginalizing and write from their POV.


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