Thursday, January 24, 2013
Thursday's Children Blog Hop: Calluses
"The lessons of life amount not to wisdom, but to scar tissue and callus."
- Wallace Stegner
Calluses are odd, ugly things. They are defined in the dictionary as "a thickened and hardened part of the skin". Most people spend time and money trying to get rid of them, or better yet, avoid them all together. Being a fairly above-active kid, I always had plenty, and couldn't be much bothered to do anything about it. Calluses on my hands were just the price you paid for swinging on the monkey bars, or playing guitar, or even holding a pencil for too long (something I did frequently).
As I got older, I realized that calluses aren't just things you develop on your body. Life can be complicated, unfair, and just downright hard. People can be cruel. But we have to carry on somehow, so we toughen up. Grow "thicker-skinned". In short, we get calluses on our souls.
When I decided to start writing romances, I knew I couldn't write about people who had things mostly figured out. You know the types. The heroine who comes from a loving family and is universally adored for her spunk and sense of humor. The hero who is a great dad, loving son, and who volunteers at the animal shelter on weekends. Some writers can make characters like that sound convincing, and I give them props. I am not one of them.
Tender love stories, tough people.
That's what I'm interested in. People with calluses, both on their hands and on their hearts. People who have been hurt, abandoned, screwed over, chewed up by life and then shit back out. People who have every reason not to fall in love with another human being, but who do anyway. And then have to struggle to make it work out.
Is it weird to be inspired by calluses? Probably. Remember, they're odd, ugly things. But looked at from the right perspective, they can also be poignant and- dare I suggest- sexy as hell.