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Writing Resolution - My Writing Themes for 2013
Posted by Mary Celeste on 1/2/2013 to On Writing
Welcome 2013! The world did not end and the writing ideas and projects I had in 2012 are still with me. This year, in addition to my usual ongoing projects, I resolved to let my writing help me to explore a handful of key themes that seem worthy of deep exploration: safety and fear, trust, envy, boredom, and patience, to name a few. In their most basic essence, they are mostly emotions and states of mind, but they are also the goodies that I am nearly always obsessed with in my writing. Some might say there are a handful of mortal sins in my list, others might say they are just the feelings and sense of things that make us all human. For my own part, my feeling is that they are concepts of truth about which I would like to write further this year. The related story ideas are sure to fill a few notebooks this year...

The first is safety. 

Safety can surely be about guarding our bodies and belongings, but it can also be about the feeling itself, whether we are in fact in a place of physical safety or not. The compelling thing for me about safety is that there have been many times in my life, where I was not at all safe, but felt safe, and times when I was indeed safe, but felt as vulnerable as if I was sleeping in the rough on a deserted city street. What makes us feel this way? Is safety something physical or is it just a state of mind? 

Often when a certain event happens in the world, or when we are approached by a memory from our past, we then feel safe or unsafe. Or maybe there are just certain intangibles that spur a feeling of safety, and for everyone it is different. For me, whenever I am home with my children and there is warmth and the smell of food cooking, that creates feelings of safety for me. But then, when night falls, and everyone is asleep, and the sounds of night emerge Ė a neighborís car door closing, the house creaking, the wind blowing through the trees Ė thatís when I begin to feel less safe. Even though the doors are locked, the alarm is set, and the dog is alert to any sound within 20 feet of our house, thatís when my sense of safety begins to wane. Itís as if all sorts of things could go wrong; a tree could fall on the garage, a fire could start in the basement, or one of the kids could fall ill. Even though none of these things has ever happened, I at once feel they might as soon as itís night and quiet in the house. My sense of safety wanes. Until morning, when I suddenly feel safe again. 

Sometimes safety is associated with a person, as in, ďNow that I have you in my life, I feel itís safe to go out into the world,Ē or some similar Hollywood statement. But really, parents do play a major role in helping their children feel safe, and the warm embrace of a loved one really can make you feel like the world is not such a big, scary place. It that sense, isnít safety really more a state of mind that may or may not coincide with physical safety? 

Wikipedia says safety is a state of being protected or controlling hazards to the point of an acceptable level of risk of injury or loss. It gives the example of traffic roundabouts, which have a favorable safety record yet make drivers feel nervous. Feeling unsafe then, can also be like driving on a roundabout and feeling like youíll be side-swiped at any moment. Or, flying in a plane at 550 miles an hour, miles above the earth, in my case, while being lulled into a self-induced champagne coma, or fading away on sleeping pills to avoid the constant feeling of non-safety. 

One of my conclusions on safety: Itís probably not ever absolute, and in most cases is fleeting and dependent upon the person, place, time of day, and loads of other circumstances.
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