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.



  1. I've used calluses as metaphors - I also think hand calluses are sexy. Nice contribution to Thursday's Children :) Hope you'll find it habit-forming.

  2. Thank you! I think it may well be...

    Hand calluses ARE sexy, aren't they?

  3. LOL... this comment board is getting awkward for me... >_<

    I had a bad habit of creating non-callused characters. Mainly because I tend to be black and white with how I like to see good characters vs. bad characters.

    But in the quest to make them more well rounded and interesting, I ended up giving them some calluses. Things that they fear. Things that they're ashamed of. Things that haunt them. Definitely a good thing!

    Thanks for sharing this!

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I enjoyed your post, too!

  4. Personally, I hate having calluses on my hands. Too many jobs where a broom & mop were in the job description. lol

    It is, however, very important to give some to your characters so that they're a little more real. There really aren't very many interesting people out there who don't have some sort of past hurts.

    Nice post. :)

  5. Thanks Rose! I agree- the interesting people are all a little screwed up :-)

  6. I think this is a great post (even got mini-goosebumps). I agree, the stories of people finding love or even learning to love themselves after a torturous life ARE inspiring. They give us all strength to persevere and/or go after our dreams of love, what ever form love takes.
    There are so many tribulations, many, even the strong, feel week on occasion, and calluses remind us --we are strong. Our body has armor, and we can protect ourselves. Love this metaphor. Now, you've got me thinking.

    1. Haha, I'm so glad to hear it! Thanks for reading. Keep me posted on where your train of thought leads!

  7. I like the idea of calluses as much as I like the notion of tender love stories and tough people. Calluses have an authenticity about them. :)


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