June 23rd, 2020
I’m a writer.
I’m a straight, white male.
Every time I come up with a new character, he starts off as a straight, white male. Even if I imagine her as a red-haired young woman, on the inside she is a straight, white male.
For her to be anything else takes work.
The work varies. It may be that I have to just let her be whoever she is. It may be that I have to walk in her shoes for a while, be in her thoughts and feelings and her very specific way of living.
I have to be empathetic to who she is, where she came from and where she wants to go, which requires extra work from my end.
Empathy requires work.
Which is why, I believe, the people who resist change do so.
You might argue that empathy is natural for some. You could argue that but, the fact of the matter is, for most people, their lives are easier when they don’t select empathy. Choosing empathy takes emotional work.
When I came up with my band of superheroes, they were all boring, straight, white ass men with neat powers. Do you know how stupid easy that book would have been to write?
Stupid, stupid easy.
Instead, I wanted my world to reflect THE world. I find nothing scary about people the way they are; I find our collective, colorful world freeing, liberating, exciting, diverse, limitless, infinite . . .
And I find that our most intimate, personal hopes, dreams, problems and failures are the same.
I put in the work, and I found that for this story, the one straight, white male was enough. The rest were something more in every single way.
For a person still trying to take the easy road, I’d only have one question to ask: why?
Why not be limitless, why not be liberated, why not be compassionate, why not have empathy?
Your effort could be the hand that holds up another.
Put in the work.
The rewards will be infinite.