Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Changing and Growing

After Groundhog Day, some of you may be hunkering down for more winter weather. That's something we have no control over. But today's guest is going to talk about the choices we do have. Welcome Guest Blogger Renee Wildes to Terry's Place.

I’m the mother of two and the owner of a silver-dapple Morab mare I’ve owned since she was a black yearling. The little baby boy I used to hold w/one arm like a football is now 10 and can look me in the eye. My daughter who used to cling to her coach’s hand can now skate on one foot. I’ve gotten a bit wider…and grayer. Me and Sassy – graying together.

We watched Chocolat together tonight – my daughter and me. The transformation Josephine (Lena Olin) goes through is breathtaking. I never tire of watching a victim go from “I don’t matter” to strong enough to leave to strong enough to not go back to fighting back. It was like watching a butterfly come out of a cocoon. If you do it for them, they’re not strong enough to fly. But a bit of fight, a bit of struggle, makes us stronger.

How many times did you crash that bike before learning to ride it? How many times did you fall off that horse? (Well, okay, that was just me, but there was a Harley involved and I don’t blame Sassy for being spooked at a noisy machine kicking gravel into her face!)

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That got me thinking to changing…and growing…and CHOICE. Life is made of choices big and small. Every choice has a consequence. Don’t do your homework…stay in at recess to finish. Don’t eat your vegetables…no dessert. Don’t go to work…don’t get paid. Don’t get paid…don’t buy…whatever. Do I wear the pink dress or the green pantsuit? Do I tell Grandma I really hate the sweater or say thanks? Do I bury it, burn it or wear it?

As a reader, my favorite characters are the ones who face the tough choices, make the tough decisions, right or wrong, make mistakes and live with it. Learn from it. Change. Grow. Characters who are irrevocably different at the end than they were in the beginning, in both subtle and profound ways.

As a writer, I’m faced with choices every day. Who are my characters to start with? What do they hate? Fear? What would they rather die than say or do? How can I throw that in their faces? What do they do? How do they handle it? What does the challenge do to them? I’m a mean writer. I write fantasy, and my characters go through the forge transformation – set them in a hot fire and pound the bejeebers out of them with big hammers until a hero or heroine emerges to save themselves…and the world. (Or at least their little part of it.)

When my kids wanted to ride a bike, I gave them a helmet and turned them loose. When they fell, I’d brush them off and say, “Oh, darn. Try it again.” I’m with Rene Russo in Lethal Weapon 3 – “If blood wasn’t gushing and no bones were sticking out, no one cared.” I’m not a coddler, and as a result my kids are pretty resilient with the little stuff. I have every confidence they’ll handle the big stuff, when it comes, with the same practical, flexible attitude they’re growing up with.

I hope my characters can say the same!

Renee's latest release is Hedda's Sword, a fantasy romance from Samhain Publishing. You can read more about it at Renee's website, her personal blog, or the blog she's created for her characters. Thanks for dropping by!


Linda LaRoque said...

Hi Renee,
Interesting post. I loved your question - what would my characters rather die than say or do.


Mona Risk said...

What a poweful post. To decide when to persevere and when to change. And sometimes, how to do both at the same time. I know I change a lot in my life, at least I changed careers from pharmacist, to environmental chemist to director of a lab and now to writer. From carefree student, to wife and mother with responsibilities, to dotting grandmother. Grab life with both hands. It's always interesting, even when difficult.

Elaine Baskin said...

You have hit the crux of what I look for not only in a novel, but also in a play or movie:
"Characters who are irrevocably different at the end than they were in the beginning, in both subtle and profound ways." Thank you.

Mary Ricksen said...

I just hate it when people in vehicles drive by horses and don't realize that scaring that horse, could cause it's rider, real problems.

Never give up, never give in. What's left if you do? Every profound experience changes us in some way. Finding the best in it all is the way to go!

Jess said...

We didn't get helmets when we learned to ride bikes. And there was, in my personal daily childhood, a LOT of falling. I'm the one that could trip over cracks in the sidewalk! And I did. At least 3 times a day. But I'd bet my Mom has fond memories of that, too. Ya just had to get back up and keep going!

Anita Birt said...

Loved the comments about change, very relevant especially in the economic turmoil the world is in. Let's hope the reading public needs a break from reading, seeing and hearing the bad news and they will turn our books. Escape into fiction is our mantra.

Terry Odell said...

Thanks to everyone for stopping by. Renee definitely has started the thinking gears turning.

Jess, we knew a day couldn't be over without 3 splats. At least you bounced right up and kept going. Except the time you broke your arm and didn't say anything.

Jess said...

I must have said something fairly soon, as I recall a trip to the ER, getting teased about wanting to marry the nurse's son when we were in preschool or kindergarten, and Nicole being very upset that it really was broken. And wasn't it Hanukkah, too? :-)

Terry Odell said...

Yes, Jess -- but you never really 'complained' -- it was only when you didn't want to open a second present that we knew something must be wrong.

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone!
A snafu with my carrier cut me off from the Internet for 3 days. Was unable to connect until now - GRRR! Thanks so much for stopping by! My horse can handle cars, but she wigged at a Harley and threw me in a ditch. I don't wear a helmet. My kids do.

What I would love to see is people stepping forward to take a chance, take a stand even though there are never any guarantees. Inactivity will kill us all.

I hope lots of people keep reading!

Ray said...

I like your parenting ideas Renee. Coddle them and they can't survive this cruel world.