Thursday, August 26, 2010

What is it all About?

I had a wonderful mentoring poetry professor in college who would recite oceans of staggering rhythm and rhyme and then sit back and ask "What is it all about?"  Same cadence.  Same inflection.  Same meter.  Same question.  Every time.

That question has lodged itself in my brain and pops up in just that rolling Russian accent each time I encounter new writing.  And each time I re encounter known writing.  And now when I first meet my own writing.  It is funny.  One would think the theme would present itself and the structure would be built to support it.  It doesn't happen that way for me.

The reveal is slow.  Many times I begin a sentence having no idea where it is headed.  The theme of that sentence will not necessarily introduce itself to me before it gets behind the wheel of the words and takes off.  It is only after I have chased through stoplights and over hill and under dale that it will tell me what it is all about.  It is an unusual progression.

I have just met the central theme of my second book.  Oddly enough it is a blood relation of the theme of my first book.  This thematic family must fascinate me.  I was at the coffee shop the other day when the lovely girl behind the counter happened to ask "What is it all about?"  Out it flew.  Whole, concise, surprising.  Lovely to meet you.


  1. I had a professor in college who felt some authors (maybe all authors?) have themes they personally must revisit (or relatives of those themes ;), whether they realize it or not.

    I find myself circling around the same ideas when I write, too.

  2. it is strange! i had no idea that it is what i am writing about.

  3. My thematic reveal was so slow as to be excruciating, Priya, so I can certainly relate to this, although I think I have a much more chronic case! I still cringe at that question, 'What is it about?' so you're vastly ahead! But it's genuinely fascinating, isn't it? Such a strange process. Of course we must all have our preoccupations, but it's odd they're not more apparent to us when we're writing. I definitely have to excavate. It's reassuring to hear you do too. Exciting times for you!


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