Monday, September 24, 2012

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now (#230) -- Recurring Themes

What are the themes and subjects you tend to revisit in your work?

First let me state that I agree with author John Gardner concerning theme:  "By theme here we mean not a message -- a word no good writer likes applied to his work -- but the general subject, as the theme of an evening of debates may be World Wide Inflation."

Themes is the word, it's got groove, it's got meaning...
I have a shallow well of only a few common themes from which I draw typically, including :
  • marriage vows ("Posthumous," "Death Imitates Art")
  • betrayal ("Die Giftig Lilie," "Lucky Strikes")
  • perseverance ("Dance with the Devil")
  • righteousness like filthy rags ("Death with a Hint of Bronze," "Farewell")
  • self sacrifice ("Limits," "Fishnet Angel," "Sin and Error Pining")
  • living a lie ("Pleasant Valley Sunday," "How Does One Know")
  • the quest for family ("Cherry Hill," "It's Christmas, Baby Please Come Home," "Angels of our Better Nature," "Farm Fresh")
  • true learning only comes through loss ("Once Upon a Time," "Take My Hand, Take My Whole Life Too (A Love Story)," "The Other, As Just As Fair")
  • redemption ("The Ghost of Christmas Past," "Nor Doth He Sleep")
  • the female as hero ("The Most Beautiful Dream," "Foolish Notions," "The Other, As Just As Fair," "Lake Jennifer Blair")

Even so I don't typically approach a story with a theme in hand and try to beat it into place with a hammer.

I prefer to let it develop naturally as the story progresses because the characters lend themselves to it and because of who I am as the writer creating the tale as it filters through my imagination.

So, somehow, these are the issues I guess that define me as a writer, and I guess they always manage to sneak into my stories in spite of my trying to write around them.