Beth Camp Historical Fiction

Monday, April 23, 2012

T is for Theme . . .

Someone once said that each writer has a theme that is unique, that each story in that sense is the same as the writer retells or reworks out this same underlying theme in every story. I always imagined the theme as some great tuning fork that resonated deep within the story, a kind of universal harmony, but I've never wanted to imagine or investigate what my theme is particularly. A variation of 'don't look in the mirror too closely for you may not like what you see.'

My theme, though, is no matter what the provocation or how terrible the situation, that goodness prevails. I would like to believe that is true. I've always liked the existentialists who said if there is no God, then Man would have to invent a god to bring order out of chaos. For perhaps without a god of some sort to measure out rewards or punishment for acts here on earth, there would be no reason to be good. At least this theory explains evil.

So too do Eastern philosophies of reincarnation revolve around some growth of the soul. If you are not good in this life, you will be born again (fill in your least favorite being). Or karma, what you send out comes back to you.

This may be a universal truth -- to strive for good. Christians follow the commandments and turn the other cheek, even to the point of sacrificing what they love most. If they sin, they are forgiven if they but believe. Who can forget "Do unto others as you would have done to you"? Before the Christians were the Jews: "What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor."

Voltaire in Candide literally puts his silly, naive, and innocent characters through a series of disasters only to have them conclude, "We must tend our own garden" (i.e., do good within our own community), for "all is not for the best in the best of all possible worlds" (Voltaire's answer to another philosopher, Leibnitz).

So my sister says (before breakfast and before coffee) that T is not for Theme, it is for Theology. She's a smart cookie and yet optimistic. She says that faith is believing in what you can't see and that curiosity (rationality) and the search for meaning (structure out of chaos) lead us to act as we do to survive. Let it be for the good, regardless of our personal beliefs.

Should my stories ever be published, you can count on my hero and heroine trying to surmount evil. Even if it seems impossible, they will survive, become better people, and within their abilities, do good in their world. I try to do the same. And if there is a God, perhaps that will be enough.

1 comment:

  1. Love this post. Very thoughtful. Very nice writing.