Over the years, I have tried to encourage my hubby to take up jogging with me, or yoga, or spin class. But he has no interest in that. Don’t get me wrong. He’s active. He coaches our sons’ basketball games, has played softball, golf, and tennis. But those aren’t my ‘things.’ I tried to learn tennis but I can’t play with my husband because I’m a beginner and he’s been playing since he was a kid. Our abilities don’t match up. I tried golf and decided three holes are enough for me. It just takes too darn long to play that game!
Face it; so much of my social life with hubby revolves around our children, food, and drink. The kids are growing up so fast. I want to make sure that when it’s just the two of us at home that we have some healthy hobbies to share!
I decided to look for the most macho exercise class I could – Boxing. When I suggested it to hubby, his first reaction was “No way.” He pictured an aerobics-style class where instead of dancing in step, participants kicked and punched the air. In spite of his reservations, he agreed to at least check out the place with me.
The instructor wrapped our hands, let us borrow boxing gloves, and we waited in a room full of heavy bags. (NO! not fat old women—boxing heavy bags hanging from the ceiling.) What an awesome workout! One hour of three-minute intervals of jab-cross, hook combinations, sprinkled in with 45 second-sets of push-ups, crunches, planks, etc. After an hour, we were surprised we were still standing – but enthusiastic.
Boxing has become part of our new Sunday morning routine. Each of us try to attend at least one other class during the week. It’s pretty cool. The funniest reaction to this crazy new hobby came from my oldest son. “How could you? It goes against everything you believe in.”
I just looked at him. “What are you talking about?”
“Boxing? You won’t even let us play video games with violence or play with toy guns and you’re training to fight?”
“I’m not hitting people. Just the heavy bag.” I pictured my new pink boxing gloves and wondered where to find unicorn and pony decals to stick on them.
This silly situation got me thinking about character development. (Yes, I’m a fiction-writing nerd and almost everything in life reminds me of some element or another of crafting a story!) Put any character in an ordinary world, set in her ways like the pacifist in my example above. Then BAM! Throw her into some uncomfortable situation that goes against everything she believes, like a boxing match or a war. This is a recipe for a great story. It’s a way to frame the catalyst that propels your protagonist into a page-turner. It sets up a great framework for placing obstacles and writing your character out of them.
Have fun with it. Build suspense. Weave a fantastic plot.
It’s all fodder for fiction!
-Lisa Lipkind Leibow
Author of Smart Women’s Fiction