Random Thoughts On… Themes In My Writing

S. J. Pajonas October 29, 2015
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The arts are always an underlying theme in my work and I can't seem to avoid it!

So, I’m writing a new book which is at 10,000 words as of today, and as I was brainstorming what to do in the next scene, I realized I have definite themes that come out on every single book I write. I really love the arts. I love music, I love painting, I love illustrations, color, sculpture, and, of course, writing. I believe that artistic abilities are at the core of every thing we humans do. I feel that even capitalism has a basis in the arts, and we would be nowhere if it weren’t for artistic innovation.

My kids' art project from camp this summer. I love them!
My kids’ art project from camp this summer. I love them!

When I wrote the Nogiku series, I knew I would include many Japanese traditions, foods, and arts. Sanaa, at heart, is an artist, even though she’s an engineer. The job she wanted to do was architecture, but we see that she doesn’t get that opportunity. Because of her personality, I knew she would be attracted to someone who was into the arts, so I made Jiro an illustrator. There was something fulfilling about writing about Jiro’s drawings. Describing the lines in the details was fun, and I knew I was putting the right picture in reader’s heads. Arts is never far from my mind.

I carried the arts into SUMMER HAIKUS. Though Isa loves to decorate her planners, she’s not much of an artist. But like Sanaa, she’s attracted to men who are. I made Masa and artist who hadn’t found his calling yet. He loved so many different arts that he felt lost amongst them, especially when his parents expected differently from him. I loved watching him try new things that made him a happy and content human being. In his heart, he was an artist and there wasn’t anything anyone could do to change it.

So now I’m here writing an entirely new book and I’ve made my main character an artist who gave up on art and tried to do sales business instead, which she is quite crappy at, I must say. I saw what I did with the story, brought art back in as a theme when I hadn’t intended on that in the first place, and stepped back for a day to think about it. Really? I can’t come up with something better for her?

But I’ve decided to keep my story idea because it’s a human truth, not just for her but for everyone. She had a passion and denied it. What does that do to a person? How do you reconcile needing to create and needing to live? Can those two things work together? I think these questions will be the underlying theme for my main character in this book! I’m excited to see where it takes me.


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