I wasn't going to explore my themes publicly, for fear someone might steal the ideas, but I realized how stupid that was. Sometimes it's good to ramble about fiction within the context of theme and a blog is the perfect place to do it. And you can't really patent theme, right? Theme must be collective, universal, or it's useless. I often compare it to the family. Most parents relate to the idea of devestation at the loss of a child. Most of us haven't had that experience, and we all would handle it differently. But that core fear: that's theme--the universal concept (or even construct) that binds us.
Plus, no two people would build the same house around theme. Again, view theme is a family. All of us can relate to the struggles and joys inherit within the consruct of family: sleepless babies, arguments over money, goodbye kisses. But we all don't manage it in exactly the same way, and when it gets down to it, those differences are pretty surface compared to the universal concept of love, that which binds a family together. Those differences are the fictional "worlds" that envelopes similar themes. They can be rich and varied, but at the same time meaningless.
So here I'm going to talk theme. In this latest book, working title: THE SILVER SCAR, I'm exploring foremost Tradition: within the context of time, and the evolution and mutation that occur to and from beliefs and behaviors that surround tradition, and also the power that tradition has over the present. So there's two tensions: belief/behavior verses tradition, and the influence of tradition--right or wrong. I also want to explore the tension between the world and man, and how even the well-meaning can destroy. I'd like to explore the tension between faith and truth. Are they synonyms or antonyms? Can they each be put on a scale, or are they absolute, dependent upon the believer? (A sort of "when a tree falls in the woods" question.)
At a character level, I want to explore homosexuality, but not overtly. I'd like it to be a foil, a thick wall to dig beneath, in order to get at the deeper issues of self-discovery, acceptance, and love. And finally, I'm exploring the balance required by leadership: what a leader must share and keep to himself and what events or beliefs might make his choice right or wrong.
I've got a million ideas on how to symbolize these themes, but this is the first time I've approached a book from the standpoint of theme. Already it feels more difficult, and I wonder if the themes will evolve as the book gets written.