Exercise: Voice/ Point of View

First Person

Out on the island the wind was always blowing to the west. Standing at the edge of Calumny's Cliff, overlooking the tiny pebble beach a hundred feet down, the gulls would float and bounce on an updraft and look you in the eye. At sunset the pelicans arched their massive ancient wings and glided to their nests on the Western Rock. You could look at your long shadow as the wind whiped your face, listening to the barks of the sea lions report across the rocks below. The waves would hiss at the cliff face, and the dying sun left a trail of orange gold on the sea.

Someday I imagined I would step off the cliff and walk lightly on that golden path to the eastern horizon.

I was thinking about what I'd find there, at that faint blue line, when I walked home a summer's evening. The last threads of twilight fell through the grey leaves of the olive grove, making purple patterns in the dust. My bare feet looked nearly black in the dim light. I shook my head and chided myself for thinking there was a place at the end of a horizon and skipped my feet to trot home.


Third Person

Out on the island the wind is always blowing west. The gulls will catch the updraft off of Calumny's Cliff, dancing and bobbing above the pebbles a hundred foot drop below. At sunset the pelicans catch gold and red on their white heads and ancient, arching wings as they glide toward their nesting ground on the Western Rock. The waning light casts long shadows across the breadth of the island and out to see as the olive trees and coreopsis whip and shiver to the beat of the wind.

Pouding up along the cliff face, the swells crash and retreat with a hiss. Huddled out of their reach on the meagre pebble beach, the sea lions bark out their evening chants, oblivious to the glittering path of gold laid out across distant water by the lowering sun.

A girl sands at the cliff with her back to the cloudless sunset, watching that bright reflection like a trail of gold coins scattered toward the eastern horizon. The wind whips back her hair and the gulls eye her as they float above the chorus of the sea lions and sea.

The summer sun slips below the lip of the island and she turns to follow a path through a grey-leaved olive grove, shaking her head to herself.


Not sure which version I like best, but I think I might be leaning toward the third person narrative.