Theme—Day 27

In her comment to Theme—Day 26, Karen Hancock , Christian fantasy author of the Legends of the Guardian-King series (of which the latest release is Shadow over Kiriath) said:

I’m not so sure the best way to achieve that [saying something relevant] is by deciding what you are passionate about and what you want to say beforehand — at least not in a way that’s hard and fast.

I think the key at the outset is not theme so much as personal honesty and courage. Write what you love. Write what you care about, what really matters to you, regardless of what others will say and think. And, specifically, regardless of whether they’ll respect you or think what you’ve done is “serious.”

Those are thought-provoking comments. I guess there could be a disconnect between what I think I’m passionate about and what I am actually passionate about. After all passion is of the emotions, and there are times my mind tricks me into denial of what I am feeling.

I guess, however, I am thinking of “passionate” in a different way. I’m thinking of what drives my life, whether I’m “feelin’ it” or not. It is from that source, that well of values, if you will, that I think I need to write. And do so consciously.

When I write about my values, however, I often learn more about them, so I would agree with Karen’s statement that my treatment of my theme shouldn’t be hard and fast. I don’t think I can go into the writing convinced that I know what precisely will come out on the other side.

But it is in exploring my deeply held beliefs that those become stronger—or become debunked. Both results are good. I want to hold to what is true and I want to throw off what is false. Can I do that without uprooting those beliefs and letting the light shine on them, studying their underside and maybe doing a little dissecting?

I do find it interesting that, a la Mount Hermon, writers are told to write their passion. Yet in the next writer’s book or editorial comment, the advice might be more along the lines of “Give us what we can sell.” Or, “Write an entertaining story, something fast-paced and jaunty that will keep readers turning the pages.”

I cannot get away from the belief that these two—value-driven stories that entertain—are not mutually exclusive. It is why I liked Mark Bertrand’s essay so much: I don’t think readers are dumb; I do think readers (along with me as the writer) should be challenged to think about the Big Themes of life.

Published in: on May 1, 2006 at 1:10 pm  Comments (6)  
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