Male Characters

My friend (fellow blogger/writer/we went to grad school together) Lauren wrote this really amazing post on Healthy Masculinity. You should read her post, but to give mine some context I’ll give you a snap shot.

Lauren discusses what Toxic Masculinity is and how this concept is fairly common in our culture. What toxic masculinity is is all those negative manly qualities we try to foster in men and the flip side of also discouraging “feminine” traits in men. So – it’s the violent, sexually aggressive, more powerful male figure who DOESN’T show emotion (because that’s a sign of weakness), ask for help (again – not strong), and liking “girly” drinks. This site (which Lauren links to in her post as well) really breaks it down.  

And Lauren’s goal – as a writer – is to incorporate the Healthy Masculinity into her male characters. She lists all these potential ways to do that. Really – just read her post all ready.

And it made me a bit embarrassed. Lauren is also my critique partner and read my novel. One of my concerns that I explicitly asked her about was one of my male characters. I said (and this is DIRECTLY from the notes I sent her) “He needs to be stronger emotionally and physically – he’s supposed to be this bad-ass but cries in the shower (lame).” Lauren even pointed out in her comments that she liked that he cried in the shower.

…Well, now I feel like a huge ass. It’s not that I think that men who cry are weak. The men I respect most in life are the ones who I have seen cry and breakdown (my father and Husband). When I’m in trouble, they are my heroes. They are the ones who I go to. So – in no way, shape, or form am I against men who cry.

And yet… yet that’s not the character I’m writing. Yes, there is another male character in the story who is one of my FAVORITES and is a more sensitive male character. Just wanted to put that out there.

But – I was having a hard time (and maybe still am) of figuring out how to make THIS male character a “bad-ass” and enforce this concept of Healthy Masculinity. So – my struggle is to make this knight-in-shinning-armor (well, his armor doesn’t SHINE but yes – he’s a knight) fit into this role.

He isn’t the hero of the story. I want to point that out. But he’s used to being the hero.

Mostly, I think my struggle comes down to not knowing him as a character well enough. I think my next post might be some character development exercises.

Thoughts?

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And we’re back

So I didn’t make my deadline of having the story done in time to submit it.

HOWEVER, I do really like the concept/ idea that I have going so I’m still going to work on the short story. Who knows – maybe it’ll fit the parameters for something else down the line.

I DID keep to my doing something creative every day though. So I’m proud of myself for that!

I might have to compromise on my goal some though. I really need to add working out into my life and there are only so many hours in a day. I might have to drop my creative goal down to the days I’m not working out. We’ll see though.

Another thing I wanted to consider was that twice in the last week from two different authors I admire, they BOTH said something along the lines of them not writing everyday and living life. There’s totally something to be said about that.

 

Working Off Screen

I’m really excited about the writing prompts from Reedsy this week.

So excited in fact that I’m going to try and write a short story from one of their prompts and submit it to them. If it gets picked – it’ll be published on their blog/ webpage and I’ll get some money.

With that being said -I will be writing/working over the next several days, but nothing will be published here. Once I’m done, I’ll check back in. I have until next Friday to get it done. So – see you then!

keep-calm-im-out-of-the-office-1

World inside my head

Crack open my head –

What do you find there?

Do you see any of the things that make me me?

Do you see the indigo mountains made up of my hopes

my dreams?

Do you see the chasm cut by running rivers of my love –

for my family –

for the world?

Do you see my dark thoughts –

ebony shadows in the forest of my mind.

Or can you see all the things –

to the horizon –

of that landscape of me?

 

This morning when I was driving in the car, that line about cracking open my head came to me. It’s not really original or anything, but at the time – I envisioned it breaking open like an egg.

I wasn’t planning on doing another poem – I was sort of cruising around the internet looking for ideas when I remembered that image from this morning. I figured I’d run with it – took me in a different direction than I’d planned, but most of my writing does. The title comes from a Sister Hazel song, but I think it fits here too 🙂

Happy Thursday! We’ve almost made it through the week!

 

Sleep

I’ve been dealing with some (mild) sleep issues recently. It’s been strange only realizing you’ve been asleep when you figure out that what you JUST remembered doing wasn’t reality…

So – back in college we did a creative writing exercise where you wrote one long sentence for five (I think) minutes. You didn’t worry about punctuation or grammar or spelling or anything like that (you can have it, but it’s okay if it’s wrong).  You repeated the last word your wrote until you could think of something more to write. I feel like my sleep has been a lot like that exercise, so I thought that’d be what I do as my activity today.

Here we go:

Sleep evades me as nothing else has – or has it? That’s a strange thing to hink about baout baout the covers are never enough and sometimes they are too much much much the air in the room is shockingly cold and stifflingly hot all at the same time. Is laying here better than not? My eyes are closed and i think the things i’m thinking are real and true things, but they might just be dream thoughts. did i really have a car accident or was that in my mind – what all can i do but lie here in the dark. don’t move too much. don’t wake up Husband – he needs to sleep sleep sleep i wish i could be a sleep like him. why does it work for him and not me? me me me me me me me me my skin loves the sheets and my head the pillow. why is it that sometimes it feels comfortable to lie on my side and then moments later its uncomfortable. did we really have that conversation? is there time enough that if i fall asleep it will help? am I asleep now? how can i tell? the times i can’t tell what’s real and what’s not are getting harder and harder to figure out when i’m in the dark. this doesn’t happen in the day – why didn’t the little white pill help? help help help help my eyes feel bruised under my lids and the night is getting less dark so does that mean its almost morning? what will i do? did i get enough sleep to function today – the days where i don’t get enough sleep are the days my head feels as if it’s full of cotton of fog of thick ether that i can’t navigate navigate and i feel stupid broken and some how less of me

Well – there it is. In all it’s glory with typos and everything. I think I like doing this exercise better with pen and paper and not the computer.

Mental Break

Today was my first day back at work since December 21 and – yeah – the work really piled up.

I think I’m going to try a poem today. Mostly because it’s cold and cold weather makes me think of poetry (I don’t know why) and because it’s a good way to get some writing in. It also might possibly be a bit of a cop out but whatever.

Crepuscular Rays

Dancing dust motes float through air

Sunlight through cloud breaks

 

Fair warning – the point of these exercises is to help me get back into the habit of being creative. I’m not trying to be Shakespeare over here.

Smuir covers the earth

The world melts away from me

Enveloping cloud

 

 

Additionally, here’s a fun article about weather words you should know 😉

Out With the Old…

This is one that I kind-a just came up with on my own. No writing prompt really. No exercise in a book. I was reading about New Years traditions in other cultures and well… thought it might be fun to write something inspired by one of them. While illegal now, in Johannesburg, South Africa people used to stock pile old furniture and throw it out of tall buildings on New Years – symbolizing the whole casting away old problems and getting a fresh start.

Jane had already hauled her soon-to-be ex-husband’s 42 inch flat screen up the stairs of her apartment building when she thought that maybe this wasn’t the best of ideas.

It was New Year’s Eve and for the last ten years, Jane and Paul had gone to his sister’s house for the big Family Holiday. This year though, Paul would be taking Skank he’d left her for, and Jane was left alone. Well, not totally alone. There had been wine and the TV.

The divorce wasn’t even finalized yet, his stuff was still in their – no – HER apartment, and he was already ushering the new girl into the family. It was a dick move. But – it seemed like most of the things he’d done over the last four months or so had been dick moves. He’d known when they were dating that Jane didn’t want to have kids. He’d asked her to marry him, knowing she didn’t want kids. They’d been happily married for seven years with him knowing that she didn’t want kids. But now – he suddenly wanted them.

The cold air hit her wine flushed cheeks as she kicked open the roof door. Really. It should’ve been locked.

There’d she’d been. Drinking alone – because yes, he got the family AND friends in the almost divorce. That had been a bit shocking to Jane, but true colors had been shown and she was better for it. She’d been channel surfing – trying to find something to watch that wouldn’t depress her – when she came across a segment on how different places rang in the New Year. In Denmark that smashed plates, in Japan bells are rung, and then… that was it.

Jane peered over the side of the roof into the ally below. It was a lot further down than she’d thought. Jane bit the inside of her cheek and looked over her shoulder at the TV. She’d bought it for him as an anniversary gift – only months before he’d admitted to the affair and told her he wanted a family and that didn’t include her anymore. Not for the first time, Jane briefly wondered if the Skank was knocked-up.

With her mind made up, Jane dragged the TV to the ledge of the roof. In a moment of total and complete liberation, she pushed it off and watched it fall in slow motion before it crashed on the concrete below.

A mixture between a laugh and a scream exploded out of Jane and, if she was being honest, she felt great.

Fireworks and shrieks a few streets over let Jane know that it was midnight. She looked up at the sky stretching out for infinity over her and knew – this would be her year. She would MAKE it hers.