“Passionate Hero” Hangover

One of the things I love to do with my writing is address issues in my life in a creative, fun way. And there always seems to be something I can address–and sometimes it’s something that’s being recycled.

Take my first novella for instance, “WANTED PASSIONATE HERO: Experience Preferred”. The fantasy world that I use in that novella is that of a popular 1960’s western that I watched devoutly as a kid of 9-11. I became aware– as I wrote “Passionate Hero”– of the lack of solid female characters–so I created Lili who, in the cowboy hero’s world is a saloon girl (because that’s basically all she could be); but who comes into her own in the protagonist Marcy’s real world, where she begins to take on the feminine experience/wisdom–the other half of life– that is so blatantly absent in the cowboy hero’s fantasy world.

So I believed I “addressed” the issue. But not so; or at least, there’s more to it. I’m becoming increasingly aware that I look for male support when the support I get pretty well comes from other women. Now, I know I need to be careful here. I’m sure there are supportive men out there, who come through…though I suspect not in quite the same way as cowboy hero Trace Gallant does because–well, he’s is a fantasy hero, who is too good to be true…

And maybe that’s part of the problem: as a kid watching the show I really believed that there was man out there who could be there for me in that way; and much as I don’t want to admit it–that belief is still part of me…at least, I still experience male support as somehow being more “valuable” than the support of other women, somehow having more authority, more substance.

And when I look back at the show “Passionate Hero” is based on I realize there were whole episodes where women aren’t present. In fact, if the issue being addressed didn’t directly involve women, then they pretty well had no part in what was going on. Of course it could be argued that this was simply a reflection of the times: in the 1860’s women were not directly involved in public life. And I certainly never took that to be model for my life even then: I went to university–very much interested in the larger social picture–and I have supported myself in a profession/organization that addresses social issues all the time.

But still–when I think back, I wonder if the influence of the “Passionate Hero” world was all that good for me, as young girl. And I’m aware–it was really the “only show in town” –that is, the way woman were portrayed on the series was the way women were basically portrayed at the time.

And of course, I don’t want to get rid of “Passionate Hero”. Far from it. I loved writing it. And the emergence of Lili was an important part of the process; as is acknowledging the enjoyment, and–yes–even the insight– that the cowboy hero, Trace Gallant has given me. After all he never lets other people’s reaction sway him from doing what he sees as the right thing–something I could learn from!

Just some thoughts

M.C. Piper

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