I signed up for an online writing class a few weeks ago. I figured that this would be a good start to work on those writing projects that I shared with you last year. Every week I receive a new lesson and I’m doing my best to finish the homework.
One of the first lessons asked me to ‘define my theme’ of my writing. We had actually reviewed this type of exercise in the writing class that I took in the Fall. My theme as I understood it to mean was to ask myself the question of “What is the dominant thread that I see in my life and my writing?” That was one of those homework assignments that I didn’t do (shh … don’t tell my teacher!) so I figured that now was a good time to answer the question.
I took a walk with my dog to come up with some answers. My golden retriever named Winston (affectionately known in our house as Stinkerton for no other reason then he smells pretty ripe when he needs a bath and it’s just funny to say his name like that) is a pretty young dog and requires LOTS of walks. I’ve written some of my best blog posts when we’re walking around the neighborhood.
So I’m out walking Stinkerton and I’m thinking about themes. The word keeps circling in my head until all I could think about was that silly rhyme from when I was a kid:
Themes Themes, they’re good for your heart
The more you eat, the more you fart
The more you fart, the better you feel
So eat your themes at every meal
GEEZ … I’m spending WAY too much time with an 8-year old boy!
It took another walk to get back on track and to get that song out of my head. So we’re walking past the house in the neighborhood that always goes overboard with their decorations for every holiday. It was during the holidays when most people had a couple of strings of lights on their homes and you saw an occasional ‘santa stop here’ sign or those white wooden reindeer.
But not this house! Every year, the decorations seem to grow more and more outrageous as if the family hits some discount warehouse where santas and skeletons come to die. Every Halloween, they bury a ‘corpse’ and have moving pumpkins and cats crawling around their yard. Easter brings bunnies and different size eggs. Christmas is an explosion of santas, snowmen and lights. And every spring, the toilets explode (not really but it’s one of my favorite lines from Animal House and it crossed my mind when we walk past their house).
So I’m staring at their house all lit up one night, hoping that Stinkerton doesn’t lift his leg on one of their snowmen and I had one of those ‘ah-ha’ moments. I was struggling to come up with this answer because I was trying to equate figuring out my theme as a goal for the year. When I changed the way I was thinking about it, the answer came to me.
My theme for 2012 will be WRITING. Not a goal of doing x-number of blog posts per month, how many projects I can finish this year but the idea that my focus this year will revolve around my writing. Of course I have some goals for business and my personal life that I wrote down but my theme is like those crazy decorations on that house. I look at my theme of writing as more like the shiny pretty things that just adds to the uniqueness of the house of my life. It doesn’t have to be its foundation. It just makes it more fun to live in and it gives the neighbors something to talk about.
Have you given much thought to the theme of your life for this year? Share in the comments.