|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?