Over the years, I’ve made friends with many writers through social media. I wouldn’t recognize more than a handful of them if I passed them on the street, yet I feel that over time, I’ve come to know them personally through recurring themes evident in their books, social media, and blog posts. These identifiers are something all writers seem to have. They are the fingerprints of our writing identity. Just as a vocalist possesses a unique voice, so too, does the writer.
These themes often represent pivotal moments—some happy, some sad—that have actually happened, and as introverted as we may seem, we like to share these through our words. Sometimes, we overshare. That means you, as the reader, get to learn A LOT about us. We may not come out and tell you these things, or . . .
Maybe we will.
Maybe we’ll disguise ourselves as a character in one of our books or essays, or maybe we’ll lay it all out in a blogpost.
Sometimes, we repeat ourselves. Different pieces written by the same author may all feature a character whose sister is an alcoholic, for example. If you read us regularly, you’ll get to know us that way.
It occurred to me, after recently reading a friend’s blog post, that her theme, her pivotal moment has altered her life in a painful, heart-wrenching manner. Having read her work for quite some time, I’ve come to know this to be part of her identity, who she is as a person and as a writer.
Thus, I feel I know her better because of this.
I too have a recurring theme, a pivotal moment that changed my life forever.
I was fired.
For me, losing my job was a happy occasion in my life. Not to say I wasn’t devastated at first, but my path became very clear in the aftermath.
My adult life hasn’t been all that easy. In truth, some of it was pretty tough, but I’ve always had family, and having family to love you, to catch you when you fall makes everything better, so my theme—being fired, the one I like to talk so much about was not only a good thing because I had family who supported me in every way, it gave me a second chance to do what I always wanted—become a writer.
So, you’ll find me referring back to this theme in my writing quite often because the idea of second chances—and the joy and benefit of reinventing oneself—has become my anthem.
One of my favorite movie quotes is from the movie, Stuck in Love. Greg Kinnear as Bill Borgens says, “Rusty, a writer is the sum of his experiences. Go get some.” In other words, our pivotal moments, the things we like to talk about, the things we are happy or sad about, are the sum of our experiences, so it only stands to reason that without our pivotal moments, there would be no writing.