Sunday, August 22, 2010

Someone Else's Head - A Scary Place to Be

In an hour I'll be leaving for my bi-monthly writers' group.  This time the passages I will read are a little bit different.  When I write, I try to take on the mindset of the character so that what I'm having him say or do is appropriate for that person with his or her particular personality.  If I can't get into that persona, it just reads like a writer telling a story.

In the new book I'm working on, there is a serial killer.  So you see the problem.  I have to sort of think like a killer.  If you know me, you're having a laugh about now.  If not, you're wondering what kind of crazy I am.  I don't know if I've accomplished the right attitude or not, but I can tell you I came out of the room after my last writing session feeling pretty down.  To go to that place I had to imagine a lot of anger and resentment. I worked for about three hours and maintained a pretty hateful attitude toward most everything and everyone in the killer's world. I had a depressed feeling for hour after I'd put it all aside. 

The experience started me thinking about the many people who truly have suffered difficult lives.  If a person grows up watching or receiving constant hatred and rage, s/he must internalize a lot of that.  The abused often become abusers, after all.  I'm not saying everyone subjected to regular mental or physical violence is a potential killer. 

I'm actually wondering just the opposite.  How is it so many people rise above it?  I have to ask myself what someone finds within to become a successful human being. For some it seems to be the strength of religious faith.  Others attribute their success to hard work or education.  I wonder if anyone knows?  Psychologists continue to debate whether it's "nature or nurture" that influences our development more profoundly.   They do know, however, as all of us do - love and kindness always helps.  

For a while I don't plan to go back to that twisted killer mentality.  I think I'll spend a little time extending a hand to a kid I know.  She's stuck in a tough situation, and maybe a hand is all she'll need to climb out.  And if not, maybe she'll remember someone tried.

1 comment:

Angie Eaton said...

"nature or nurture"... that is a great question! I often ponder how I became who and what I am..."nature or nurture"? I have adopted SO MANY learned behaviors of those I admire and respect, in order to cope or just rise above a situation, mixed with my own determination, but now I can't tell what would have been natural.

My childhood was filled with FEAR from abuse in many different ways. In retrospect, I can see the strength I drew from those who took the time to invest in me. Mostly it was the small things, but REAL. (There is a difference!) We never really know how much HOPE a genuine smile and kind word can give someone. I make it a habit to find in people something wonderful that stands out and then find a way to let them know how "their something special" impacted me. It is staggering just how many people have no one that they feel really cares about them. I had 5 people that, all in a different way, (outside my family) made a dramatic impact in my life and had NO IDEA they were doing it, but the effects were so far reaching that it makes me want to be that someone back in the lives of others I cross paths with.
I enjoyed this blog!