Monday, 3 December 2012

Love and Loss

Mum aged about 58 with her cousins Keith and Michael


It would have been my mum's 70th birthday today (she died at 63) which has brought me to the theme of loss and how it has played a large part in my writing.

I hadn't realised how much loss figured in what I'd written until a colleague pointed it out to me. All but one of the stories I have had published in Woman's Weekly dealt with loss in one form or another, but I hadn't noticed! I suppose I was so busy enjoying writing them it didn't register.

There was the elderly father and daughter trying to keep their relationship together after losing the wife/mother (not autobiographical!); the woman trying to be strong as she left her dream home and life to look after her grandsons; the young woman revisiting the house where her mother committed suicide when she was a child; the old lady in a home who has lost her love and her life as she knew it; the newly-divorced man holding a birthday party for his child and steeling himself to welcome his wife's new partner into the house; the woman returning to meet her ex-husband at the place they holidayed as kids, having lost her younger sister... And then, hooray! One without a theme of loss! A woman looking for love as she works the summer in Greece doesn't have to look far as it follows her from home!

A strange thing happened, though. Once I had written all this loss out of my system, my inspiration for short stories suitable for Woman's Weekly dried up. I have only just made the link! I seem incapable of thinking up interesting storylines with a twist or surprise now that I have run out of loss!

I turned to writing erotica, to keep on being published and keep my confidence up, but am now - I think - ready to go for it with the new mainstream novel I've been plotting and hatching. It has several strands and one, I admit, is to do with loss, but I think I've moved on enough to have something else to write about.

So, Mum, Happy Birthday. You have given me a lot to write about. I wish so much you had been around to read it, but if you had been it probably wouldn't have been written or published. Such is life. And loss. And love.

Thanks for reading.  Do you have a recurring theme in your writing?

11 comments:

Dana said...

Good luck with your new novel!

One of the recurring themes in my writing is the relationship between sisters. My sister and I are pretty close but had some ups and downs throughtout the years. I tend to draw on those things when I write.

LindaC said...

Ah yes, Dana. That's an interesting one. One that will no doubt creep into my writing too!

Lauren said...

This is funny. I had a post on patterns scheduled this morning as well!

Thanks for commenting on the HalfWorld, and yes I did participate in NaNo. The story ended at 32k, so I started the editing process and ended at 51k.

Lauren

Karen Walker said...

No, I don't have a pattern to my writing. At least not one I'm aware of. Good luck, Linda

Karen

Patsy said...

I do sometimes find I've used the same theme for several stories without intending to.

Sherry Ellis said...

Loved ones inspire many ideas for writing, don't they? "Happy Birthday" to your mom. Good luck on your project.

Annalisa Crawford said...

My recurring theme is escape... many of my characters are running away from something or hiding from something. I too hadn't noticed until I was looking through old stories.

Empty Nest Insider said...

I'm so sorry that you lost your mom. Even though it's been several years, I'm sure that she is still greatly missed. I write about my mom a lot, and know that I'll be devastated when she's gone. Good luck with your book Linda.
Julie

Yolanda Renee said...

I have a lot themes, love, loss, murder, but honest I haven't murdered anyone -- honest!!!!

If I did have a theme it would be rejection...

Great post, will be thinking about this one for awhile!

Thanks for stopping by my post - appreciate the comments!

jane ayres said...

Hi Linda - your post struck a chord with me. I lost my Mum in February to pancreatic cancer, and Dad to the same cancer in September 2011. I think you are brave to allow the theme of loss into your writing but also honest. I have deliberately locked in all the feelings and grief and determined not to acknowledge it in my writing but deep down I know I will have to address this because writing is the way I express myself.

LindaC said...

Jane, I'm so sorry to hear about your parents. It must still be very raw. If writing about it in some form is going to be therapeutic for you I expect it will come out without you realising in the end. Nice to 'meet' you. I'm now following your blog. Take care x