Pillars of Strength

We all have people in our lives we see as strong, wise, unflappable in the face of adversity.  Often these people are our parents or grandparents or someone who has served as a mentor.  We hold these people to a standard many superheroes would have difficulty maintaining.  We tend to gloss over their weaknesses.  We don’t examine their frailties or how they process adversity, lest we find out they are just humans like the rest of us.  There is something comforting about knowing there are people who will be strong, dispense wisdom, hold us up when we aren’t strong enough to stand on our own two feet.  In my book The Eyes Have It my main character Lizzie has always seen the aunt who raised her like this until an event in their lives shakes the foundation on which the pillar of strength, Aunt Dorothy stands.  I published an excerpt of this book on Bublish.com with a bit of author’s insight explaining my thought process behind my scene and character development.  I will never forget the first time I realized my parents were mere mortals, subject to the ups and downs of living on this earth and not somehow above it.  As a writer the idea that even a strong unflappable character can have a breaking point, or that they can have a strong façade while crumbling on the inside is intriguing.  When reading I find the characters that stay with me are the ones with multiple facets.  Truth be told, the people in our lives we perceive as pillars of strength are human with all that entails, we just can’t or choose not to see it.  While it can be disconcerting to realize these sources of wisdom and support may have limits, it can be a lesson that we could possibly be pillars of strength ourselves. If you have children in your life, you are perceived that way even if you don’t feel it.  Writing such characters is exciting.  If you have a character who is inherently a pillar, strong, wise and gracious you can explore what lies beneath or what would it take to challenge that pillar to keep standing tall.  If you have a character with a multitude of flaws and issues you can have them interact with these pillar characters or transform them into pillars through their journey.  Take a moment and give thanks for those who have served as pillars in your life and give them a break when they fall short of their superhero status.  Then think who you might be a pillar for, be conscious that not only are you strong and wise, as a member of the human race you are paying it forward when you become the pillar in someone else’s life.  I would thank my parents Mary and Jon, my Grandma Sawyer, and a handful of friends (You know who you are) who graciously support me and encourage me in my writing and in life.  I hope I can be the pillar for anyone in my life that needs my support.  I will continue to develop characters to explore these pillars and build new ones.  After all their is beauty in strength and strength is built from adversity.  Keep your pillars standing tall.

Pillars of Strength: Charleston, South Carolina

Pillars of Strength: Charleston, South Carolina

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