The New Year has me thinking about one of my Christmas presents. My sister got me a DVD of `Nim's Island.' The movie is about courage. At one point Nim's father says that courage is made up of hundreds of smaller choices. That struck me a very true and profound. So much of a person's life is little decisions that snowball to form them into who they are. And sometimes you don't know what sort of person you are until you've passed through a difficult situation and can see what choices you made.
I know I've surprised myself a time or two. I've done things I never thought I'd do, but when the time came to make a choice I found out I wasn't exactly who I thought I was, after all. They weren't earth-shattering decisions, but a choice doesn't have to be big to someone watching -and might even seem stupid or cowardly- and still be the bravest thing you've ever done.
One of the exercises in Donald Maast's `Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook' is to have your character do something they would never do, while still acting completely in character. When you think about it, that exercise is all about getting past who your characters think they are to find out who they are in truth.
So, what are your thoughts on courage? Is it just rushing into burning buildings, or fighting monsters, or can it be small things, too, like taking your kid to kindergarten and walking away, or visiting someone who's grieving, even though you don't feel like you're any good at comforting people? Or is courage something else entirely?