Is there a leit motif in your life and in your writing? Mine is water. Indeed, the defining image of this blog is a waterfall. Its inspiration comes from a scene in one of my novels in which the young protagonist escapes her mother’s attention and wanders off to a nearby waterfall. While there, she experiences a mysterious sense of wellbeing, which she yearns to replicate for the rest of her life. My other novels also feature important scenes on or near water. I have written a short story collection whose common thread is living on boats. So water is an important theme in my writing.
It is also a recurring theme in my life. I have mostly lived within sight or walking distance of large bodies of water. I am in awe of desert panoramas and have joyously hiked mountain trails but my deepest self is drawn to water. Is this because I was born on an island?
The real estate market usually attaches a premium to waterfront property, suggesting that the desire to be within sight of water is common. I’m sure historical reasons (like being next to trade routes), environmental (air quality), and prestige of location et al. can account for this desire. Or is there something else at play here? Since we are as much as 78 % water, is it a matter of like yearning toward like? We spend our gestation in a liquid-filled amniotic sac, so are we just yearning towards our origins?
Moving away from hard science, some ancient religions have deities with water identification. In the African Ifá religion and its Western syncretistic variants like santería, each person is thought to be intrinsically a “daughter” or “son” of a particular deity. Does my predilection for water suggest I could be a daughter of Yemayá, a deity associated with water? Interesting thought.
And that is where I will have to leave this post, at the level of interesting thoughts. I don’t have any answers. I simply observe and wonder, particularly at myself for what seem to be instinctual responses I have not consciously generated and do not fully understand.
I would love to know if you have a leit motif in your life and in your writing.