“We’re all searching for something in our art. There are questions, and we always feel close to finding the answers, but we never do.

Artists never create art for what they might find. Some want to free themselves from nightmares, others want to inspire, or raise questions, or make people understand the world around them. Some want to entertain, others want to get rich, but it seems to me that no matter our reason for choosing to become artists, we all find more happiness in the stories or paintings or songs we create than we find in the real world. This is the sad truth: artists choose to live with one eye always closed to the world, the here and the now, and use that awareness to see what others can’t.

Inside the artist’s soul there is always a part that feels no remorse or fear when it comes to all that is dark in human nature. It seems to me that a part of the artist’s soul gets damaged to such an extent that it grows impervious to pain, heat, or cold. Like a scar.”

Every writer has the tendency to tackle a certain theme more than once in his stories. Solitude, unrequited love, the role of the artist. Some of them are pretty simple, like John Irving’s use of bears. This use of symbolism adds emphasis to a writer’s stories as a whole — like pieces in a puzzle.

I have a number of themes I like to write about. One of my favorite might be a bit more ambitious than it sounds. I like to write what some might call Metafiction, especially a story about a writer creating a story.

Ever since I first read The Garden of Eden by Hemingway I’ve been writing stories about writers. It’s not just that writers are a human type that I can emphasize with. I just love it when one of my characters decides to sit down at a desk and write some stuff. And it never gets boring. Maybe there’s something introspective about writing a scene like this, maybe I’m finding out more about myself as a writer. Or maybe I’m simply eager to understand how the process works — there’s nothing logical about a moment of rare inspiration, when a story starts to form out of nothing and grows and grows until in turns into a story, but I keep trying to figure out how my mind works.

Even though with Jazz I’ve just played around the edges of this (there are few scenes in which my character is actually writing), there is one scene I had a lot of fun writing. And, to be honest, the fact that Chris Sommers was a writer did come in handy on one occasion.

I’m curious to know if any of you can recognize recurring themes in your stories. Or a certain element, object, a scene layout perhaps. Even a specific setting that you used in more than one story.

3 thoughts on “Metafiction

  1. Yes, I come back to Enosburg Falls, Vermont again and again in my fiction. Lately, my theme seems to be the need for connection with other people that is never realized. It’s pretty depressing, actually, and not at all intentional.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting that you mention John Irving and the bears. It is kind of a trademark of his writing. I always liked the misfit characters in his books, just a little out of the ordinary. Just like the rest of us but in different ways.

    Liked by 1 person

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