Archive | 1:50 pm

Understanding the Human Condition

1 Aug

I had to fight my way through a good portion of my childhood.  From age seven to say age thirteen, it was even odds whether I would get through the day unscathed or not.  I was a runt when I was young.  I was shy and goofy. And I was raised by a father who taught me never to back down from bullies.

That’s just the way it was back then in the 50’s and early 60’s.

I laugh about it now.  I went to a Catholic grade school, and we had to wear these uniforms of salt-and-pepper slacks, a white buttoned shirt, and a green buttoned sweater.  We might as well have had a target on us, or a large sign that said “I’m Catholic; feel free to kick the shit out of me.”

Seriously!  Remember when Kennedy ran for President in 1960, his Catholicism was a big deal back then.  Being a Catholic was no walk in the park for a young kid in the 50’s, and I happened to live in a Protestant neighborhood, so if I wasn’t fighting because I was small and shy, I was fighting because someone didn’t like my association with the Pope.

So a good many of my evenings were spent putting Band Aids on various cuts and scrapes, and explaining to my dad that I handed out as much punishment as I had received.

That’s just the way it was!

Now two things could have happened because of those early years of bullying and nursing wounds: I could have become bitter, and a bully myself; or I could have grown to have an increased empathy and awareness of those who suffer at the hands of others.

Thanks also to the teachings of my father, I went the second route.  I was taught never to back down from a fight, but never pick one as well.  Defend yourself and never take advantage of someone weaker than you . . . and above all, be aware that there are those out there who are having a hell of a time just getting through any given day.

This stuff is important for writers.  If you write fiction, as I do, understanding the human condition and psyche will help us to create characters who are believable and relatable.  Understanding emotions will help us to connect with our readers.

That’s just the way it is!

Have a great day being a writer! We are the chosen few!


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”