A lot of people have been asking me about themes in my work, especially for some podcasts I have appeared on. It really got me thinking. One obvious thing I know I'm fascinated by is memory. I love how the brain can lie to you, hide things from you - and that line between what you know and what you don't know consciously, unconsciously, and even subconsciously. I also find head trauma and changes to memory as a result really interesting.
I love books that really delve into this, such as 'Before I go to sleep' by SJ Watson. Also 'Regeneration' by Pat Barker, which is almost about remembering too much. Lastly, I love 'The Woman Before Me' by Ruth Dugdall. All of these books have elements about memory and trusting yourself (or not).
While I was thinking about this though, I also started thinking about other themes. I realised that my two novels have some characters who are especially detached from their emotions. Two characters in particular have little understanding of consequence, or if they do, they have a limited response to it. I started thinking about why I am interested in this.
A realisation hit me - I grew up with someone who would now been referred to as 'neurodiverse'. While at the time, they had no label and it wasn't until adulthood that they did. In contrast, I was always very emotional and often labelled 'too sensitive'. I remember it being upsetting then but now, I'm proud that I feel things so strongly. I think it makes it easier to write down emotions.
So back to my point, I wonder if my interest in characters who have limited emotional capacity (for whatever reason) might be connected to my life experiences. So when I tell people I don't tend to write about people I know, that perhaps on some level, I actually have been! It came as a shock to me in some ways. I hadn't thought about it before but there were many times in my life growing up where I tried to understand this person, their reactions or lack of, the way they didn't process things like I did. And maybe, in some strange way, this has snuck into my writing through the back door.
What themes are in your novels/poems? Are they things you're aware of? Maybe there's something in there that you didn't know you were exploring, much like me!
You can listen to me speaking on the Writing for Wellness podcast
You can also listen to me speaking on the Full House Lit Mag podcast (time - 31:51)
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