Everyone’s heard the expression, “people don’t change.” And I think I disagree, although, there has to be some guiding factor to initiate the change.
Isn’t that what writing is all about; showing someone’s growth-or decline-based on forces bent on keeping said person away from what they want?
But even apart from fiction, there’s the non-fiction aspects of the real world. I don’t know about you guys, but changing my priorities, and my motivation, is the only way I can survive.
As a mother of two small children–who are too young to comprend another person’s needs–I find myself constantly addressing what’s important to me; what it means to be me. I am a writer, yes. I am a mother. I am a wife. These three things are unchanging-although the order of their importance to me sometimes shifts. I am also a daughter, a housekeeper, a bill payer, a sister, a (former) athlete, an artist, and a pet owner.
And I find as I grow older, that the things I thought my whole life, can not only be changed, but that the switch can be flicked on an idea at a moment’s notice. For example, I’ve always had a thing for bad guys and vigilantes. There’s a certain charm and toughness that’s always intrigued me, but I’ve felt rcently, in fact very recently, the allure of the hero, the true good guy.
My logic has always been that it’s not hard to be a good guy, to do the right thing. But, it seems like a very superficial thought, now. Of course it’s hard to be a good guy. It’s got to be hard to choose the right path, if there’s an easier less-right one available. It’s got to be hard to choose to help someone else over helping yourself.
For example–and this is where it ties into my own life, and where my perspective change originated–let’s say my kids want food, but I just sat down. They’ve been playing nicely all morning, while I was packing, and I just need to rest for five minutes. But they need a snack. I certainly won’t get any respite while they’re wailing over their empty stomachs, so I get up, ignore my aching back and throbbing knee, and fix them something to eat. (And anyone with kids knows there’s no way I’m going to get to sit back down.)
This example is simple enough, but the logic can be applied to greater situations. I think this realization is something that I’ve been lacking in my writing. I’ve always known that hero’s sacrifice themselves for the greater good, I just never realized that they might not actually want to. Seems like a dumb thought, looking back. Everyone is self-interested to some degree, nobody wants to die, or loose their job, or have to choose between the welfare of their child and the welfare of an entire population (thinking grandiose, here–I do write a lot of fantasy).
And so I am changed. My thoughts are different. My appreciation for the Hero is greater. I look forward to applying this depth of knowledge to my writing, and I hope it makes my own characters, more well-rounded.
So what was your last epiphany? Please leave a comment! I’d love to chat!