A writer and teacher I greatly admire once said during a lecture that many writers find themselves revolving around themes. At first it’s a subconscious thing, and then with each book (or story), if you can step back and look at your work, you’ll find you dance around particular issues that mean something to you. Knowing this can deepen your work and make it more meaningful.
I’ve just finished editing a printed draft of my book Spinning Tales, which is out around February. It’s already with my editor, but I always go over it again myself, with old fashioned pen and paper, to see if I can spot areas I’d change/make better. Toward the end of this process, I started thinking about my next book, which I’ll be starting on shortly.
A quick side-step:
Robyn and I are both dealing with family matters right now, and we’re both worried about our respective parents for different reasons. Her parents are dealing with the ‘regular’ vagaries of getting older, but that’s paired with what are becoming difficult memory issues that must be faced head-on, as painful and frightening as that is. My parent is dealing with loss and having to start over at a time when she feels like life should be settled.
When it comes down to it, all of our parents are dealing with one underlying issue: identity. Who are you when life throws monumental changes at you? Who do you become when you can’t be who you were? How do you keep your courage when you step onto the path of the unknown?
And, back to the topic at hand:
I was pondering my next book, Changing Course. What is it about? What themes do I circle? I looked back at my books and saw it: identity. I’m fascinated by what role self-awareness and identity play in our lives, especially as we change and grow. And when I looked at the blurb, I saw something else: family. Connections, support, confusion, despair…family comes with all kinds of stuff.
Now that I know, I’m ready to start writing.