Writing strong characters is such a major portion of the writers vocation. As we form our characters we begin with the archetypes we’ve been taught from the rest of society. Then we creatively manipulate them to make lives that never were seem like they’ve always been. When constructing these beings from the aether and our minds, we try to embrace archetypes and stigmas and bring them to an elevation beyond the readers’ expectations.

Heroes are generated from the minds of people that may not be heroes themselves, and villains sprout from the minds of the seemingly average person. But what makes the writer and his/her character whole? It is, in my humble opinion, the writer’s ability to encapsulate the soul into words. It is beyond simple stereotype and societal norm, it is with profound understanding that we do what we do and create the lives that transport others to new worlds. That takes courage. It is a courage of heart that is possessed by all, but tapped into by very few.

I have been told on many occasions that I must be very “in touch with my feminine side.” I am, married to a brilliant and wonderful woman who fills my day with beauty, love, strength, challenge and kindness. We share a life with our children (all of whom are girls) in a combined family. I am surrounded by women. For a time I taught in an all-girls school with a 100 – 1 female to male ratio for combined faculty/student/staff population. I have spent much of my adult life surrounded by the misnamed “weaker sex.”

Misnamed? Why? Other than the obvious political incorrectness, I say that women are the stronger sex because of how I have seen (with much experience as stated above) what fortitude they possess. As I see it, women possess a unique ability to love with strength. The feminine side of humanity is the greater side of the coin. Men in touch with the real feminine side of themselves possess the following qualities that women naturally carry; the ability to love without compromise someone in need, the power to never let adversity stand in the way of doing what they know is right, preserving through service the dignity of fellow humans, and most importantly – the ability to put aside themselves for the good of others. This sounds like the description of a superhero, but it is what I see when I look in my wife and daughters’ eyes.

Femininity, unlike womanhood, is a delicacy of character that not suppresses, but cleverly disguises the above-mentioned traits. It is the way that women show true superiority. Men with the traits of women tend to be glorified and placed upon high. It is the men with femininity and the ability to suppress the need for glory as women do that are true heroes alongside their sisters.

I must make a distinction here. Not all women possess the traits of heroes that are listed above. Those women are in touch with their “masculine side.” Like the societal perception of feminine differs from my definition, so does masculine. A woman who is in touch with her real masculine side will perform as a male does; caring only for personal physical needs, a concern with only personal safety and protection in extreme circumstances, and a need to escape the danger of intimacy with either force or flight. Women imbued with these traits are truly masculine.

Society tells us that masculine means physically strong and having a sturdy, stoic approach to living. This same society teaches that feminine is emotionally charged, weak of body, and less logical. This is an archetype that is long overdue for a change. I will strive as a writer the show in the art of words what true fortitude of character means. That humans having abilities to be heroes need to first be fully human. Men must have the strength of woman and woman must have the ability to shed the false demure without losing the humility of person. Then, we have characters that are true heroes.

With all of this diatribe behind me, I must say that as a writer I strive to allow my characters growth into full humanity for heroes, or into villains lacking in the positive of both male and female. I was inspired to write this blog entry because my wife is the biggest hero I know. Her fortitude of character is something I only hope to come near as a person. I have modeled Sonia after her and await her growth during this adventure. I do hope I can grow with her.

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