About Writers, blogging, Uncategorized, Writers Co-op

Eternal Themes

Especially in a world where forces pit group against group, universal themes appeal because we all share certain experiences: Birth and death, certainly; hopefully love, probably sex, maybe crime & revenge and possibly war. We also share basic needs and common feelings. These are universal for all people in all cultures and allow a story to appeal to a wider audience.

Common themes also help a writer to better understand what they’re writing about, even things lost to historical obscurity. I remember researching Enheduanna, the first named author, and learning that she was known as the Goddess of the Reeds. This made sense for a Sumerian goddess. Reeds in the Euphrates Valley had to be as culturally important as reeds in the Nile Valley and thus a god dedicated to them was understandable. But wait, no, further research revealed the lady earned her title in a most common way. It seems the reeds were a natural trysting place for young lovers in her time & yup, Enheduanna had earned that title long before Sargon The Great elevated her to chief priestess. Interestingly, a line from one of Enheduanna poems is, “How she carried beauty like the rising moonlight.” Compare that line to Byron’s, “She walked in beauty like the night.” Common themes are timeless.

Writers don’t need to be told what these truths mean for our characters – it’s our job to create that meaning. But we may differ on what themes are eternal and which are important to us.

What eternal themes occur in your writing?

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6 thoughts on “Eternal Themes

  1. mimispeike says:

    All my creatures, in Sly and in stories which you have not seen, long to be something that they are not, or at least to be a better version of themselves. Just like me, just like all of us, to one degree or another.

    The other part of it is, we all struggle, day to day, to put out the brush fires we’ve inadvertently lit in our lives.

    What does it all mean? We’re all screw-ups, but some are a little luckier than others.

    My themes are not the stuff of myth. My themes are street-level concerns, that punch you in the gut every day of your life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • GD Deckard says:

      In an email to us last Sunday, Kris Bowes suggested,
      “For this month’s challenge, I thought we could revisit what G.D. explored in his post: a defining moment or challenge. What defining challenge or moment have you or one of your characters faced?”

      Liked by 1 person

    • Perry Palin says:

      Sorry for my silence here. We’ve had a few events in our household that needed attention, and then our web connectivity went down for several days. I was considering various themes for the September challenge but I can support what GD wrote. I also prefer the shorter word counts.I like the challenge of telling a story with a few words, making each one count.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. mimispeike says:

    It is always best to be economical with words. But I use these challenges not as an exercise in concision (my newly discovered favorite word), but as a workshop for developing ideas, and I want to see where those ideas take me.

    That is my motivation here, why I’m enthusiastic about these challenges. They are not stealing time from the real work, they are giving me peeks at down-the-road.

    I’ll take the bull by the horns and give myself a word count of five hundred words.

    More or less.

    Liked by 1 person

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