I was aware that both my novels were about women who'd run off to secluded houses to be alone. Bonnie pointed out they are also about women whose husbands are dead. (That is a worry, but I promise you, I adore my husband.) A reader suggested they are all about crazy, wild, bohemian women. (Hmmm...)
I take comfort knowing I'm not the only one who does this. In Writing Towards Wisdom: the Writer as Shaman, Robert Burdette Sweet reminds us:
"After all what Hawthorne did was write guilt, guilt, guilt, guilt. And Kafka did write father, punishment, father, father, father and Hemingway did growl cowardice, courage, cowardice, cowardice."My hunch is that a good novel is the pearl that emerges from the pain that's worked its way into the writers inner life.
In Alone With All That Could Happen, David Jauss suggests that fiction is a lie told in the interest of truth:
"Writing about the secret life is not, then, a matter of revealing actual secrets but of distorting and altering them, consciously or unconsciously, so they tell a larger kind of truth. If you simply reveal a secret-- tell the god's honest truth about it-- you may in fact tell a lie about your real, inner life. At the very least, you will be false to the primary characteristic of the secret, which is that it is secret."In her excellent blog, My Family Secrets (where you can anonymously post your own), Mary Demuth writes, "In Daisy Chain, many characters harbor secrets, but only a few are brave enough to bring them to the light of day and find freedom and hope." I'm glad there are writers like Mary who are brave enough to obey Emily Dickinson who told us to "Tell All the Truth but tell it slant," so as to offer comforting, hopeful fellowship to her readers.
What about you? Have you noticed recurring themes in the writing of a favorite author? How have your own secrets added power to your fiction?