I had an experience this past weekend that’s really stuck with me. I was visiting with my sister and attended my nieces’ swim lessons. To say I was surprised would put it mildly….I had no idea children screamed and cried as they were set on the path of learning how to float, hold their breath and – ultimately - swim.
When I got over the sense that this ritual of throwing one’s child in the pool with a total stranger wasn’t totally barbaric (I still wasn’t able to stop the tears from forming for those small faces, scrunched up in terror), I began to realize something else. This push to swim – to learn an incredibly important life skill – was all part of a rather specific process.
In order to grow and learn, the children had to stretch and push themselves against boundaries that were uncomfortable and scary. And when I got past the fact that the tentative learners were part of the elementary crowd, I realized something even more important. The swim lessons were a funny sort of microcosm for life.
As humans, we don’t like those changes that make us stretch and (sometimes) suffer. We want our lessons to be tear free, with new skills coming as easy as breathing. But the reality is, new skills don’t come easy. They push us and prod us and force us to reach deep inside for courage we didn’t know we had – or needed.
As writers, it’s these moments – those diabolical yet necessary moments of learning – that we put on the page. Characters who don’t grow or change aren’t very interesting to read about for four hundred pages. Rather, those rich moments of growth that form out of the conflicts of our lives are the ones that we remember. Letting go of past hurts. Stepping out on a new life path. Taking a chance on someone who might have let us down before.
All these scenarios and so many more are what we read about and what authors are called to bring to life on the page.
So what do you think? What are some of your favorite characters and why? As you think back on it, did you love their story because of how much they grew and changed? (If it brought a tear to your eye, I won’t tell!)
Thanks for joining me today!
Despite early ambitions of being a diver, a drummer or a doctor, Addison Fox happily discovered she was more suited to life as a writer. She lives in Dallas and - thankfully - doesn't have to operate on anyone. You can find her at her home on the web at www.addisonfox.com. Her latest book, THE MANHATTAN ENCOUNTER, is currently out from Harlequin Romantic Suspense. You can visit her at her website at www.addisonfox.com