I’m feeling rather melancholy today – we buried the matriarch of our family after being fortunate enough to have her on this earth for 96 years. She was my grandfather’s sister and she embodies so much of the good, loving happiness I equate with my family, both immediate and extended. I spent so many years of my childhood in her home, hearing her voice, her stories and her laughter. Holidays were spent together, summer picnics and major events, from weddings to births to the funerals of other loved ones.

While funerals are never fun events, there is something about a ceremony for a person who has lived a long and full life that carries an underpinning of celebration. This is what we all hope for ourselves – long lives, blessed by an abundance of loved ones and living in our own way with our full mind and memories. My aunt was fortunate to have all of these things.

What has also struck me over the past few days is how much I’ve woven the spirit of family into my own stories. Every author has themes to their work – elements they come back to over and over, regardless of the type of story they’re telling. Family is one of my themes and, as I spent the day with my own family, I was reminded yet again of why it’s such an emotional lodestone for me.

Family knows us from our earliest days, supporting us and believing in us and helping us to become the people we’re going to be.

Family understands us, in ways often we can’t. They know our history, our roots and the various dynamics that all blend together to build a foundation of our lives.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve also come to appreciate the idea that we have multiple families. The ones we’re born with and the ones we make. These each bring different facets to our lives and once again, I saw that today. My aunt’s best friend – a woman she’s spoken to weekly and often daily for the past 80 years – was there to mourn her loss. They might not have been born into the same DNA, but that is as much family as the bonds of blood.

For all the sadness and melancholy today, I was reminded once more of why family is one of my personal themes. My family has formed me and provided a foundation that can’t be altered. I am so grateful for them and for the experiences I’ve had and the love they share with me (and all the wacky craziness, too!) and know that while today was a sadness, the memories I have of my aunt will carry me through the rest of my life.

Thanks for allowing me a moment to share this time with you. And I would love your thoughts as well. What are your themes? What influences you and drives your writing? What do you come back to over and over in your work?




16 responses to “Themes”

  1. What a lovely tribute to your great aunt and family. I’m so sorry for your lost, and I’m sending you a cyber hug, Ruby sis.

    Writing both contemporary romance and suspense, I know my themes are different in each genre. Contemporary is defiantly family and my ideas come from my own relationships with family and friends. And there are a lot of them, so tons of ideas.

    In my suspense novels, my theme deals with how easily people can become involved with the darker side and how they can protect themselves. I think this stems from having gone through two armed robberies, having my home broken into, and through our family business, how thieves operate. Of course, I’ve loved reading mysteries since the beginning of time, so I’m sure all the great stories I’ve read over the decades helped cement the theme in me.

    Our backgrounds are what bring fresh flesh to our story bones.

    Great post, Addison. Written from the heart.

    • Addison Fox says:

      Thanks, AJ!

      She was a truly special person and I appreciate having a space to share!


  2. Hywela Lyn says:

    Lovely post and a great tribute. I do agree that family can be just as strong without blood ties, but the love we find in friends throughout our lives. I write fantasy and SF and the underlying theme of my stories tends to be good versus evil and the power of love. I do believe that these days sometimes the lines become too blurred and the forces of evil are allowed to get the upperhand!

    • Addison Fox says:

      Thanks, Hywela!

      I so agree on family – blood is thick but so are the bonds with the wonderful people who come into our lives. I have friends who mean the world to me and I consider them my family as well.

  3. June Love says:

    Addison, you’ve just paid tribute to your great aunt in the best way possible. I’m sorry for your loss and I know your family will miss her.

    Family is a strong theme because family can elicit strong emotions from one end of the spectrum to the other. And, I agree, you don’t have to be blood relation to have that familial bond.

    Great post. It makes me want to go write about family. 🙂

  4. Dana Britt says:

    Hugs to you, Addison. What a great post, it honors your Aunt well.
    I’m so sorry, losing beloved ones is so hard. I hope your memories bring you comfort and even smiles.

    My personal theme is “Dum Spiro, Spero” which means “While I Breathe, I Hope.” That and “All You Need is Love” 😉

    My tagline for writing is “Hope, Home, and Happily Ever After”. That’s what drives my writing, that common desire for belonging, for connection.

    I believe it’s all about love–that simple yet so complicated thing that,coupled with hope, makes the world go ’round.

    I really enjoyed your post and thinking about my personal theme. More hugs on your loss xo

  5. This is a beautiful post, Addison. I relate so strongly to what you’ve said here, about the power and the importance of family and how it is passed down through the generations – and finds its way into our books. I, too, come from a family with strong women who are now in their 9th decade of showing us what a full life can be and I really just want to say thank you for writing this today. May all of our lives ultimately be a celebration of how much we lived. Thinking of you and your family today.

  6. Julia Day says:

    Thank you for the lovely memories of your aunt. I also have themes about family–the one you’re born to and the one you find (or find you). A theme I seem to weave into all of my stories is how often we try to be well-intentioned and loving–and still mess up. But healthy relationships can weather mistakes. It’s all about forgiving each other, and forgiving ourselves.

    • Addison Fox says:

      I love that, Julia. The discussion of forgiveness is an important one – and such dynamic element to weave into storytelling.


  7. Elisa Beatty says:

    I’m so sorry for your family’s loss, Addison, but it sounds like a wonderful legacy, full of love!!

    So many families (mine included) are now spread out geographically. Mine was all in Pennsylvania literally since the 1680s, and it was considered a big deal when my parents moved a 45-minute drive away from their hometowns in order to work in Philadelphia. Now, from my immediate family, only my sister still lives there. My brother’s in Georgia, I’m in California, and my dad spent his last years in Florida.

    Part of the reason my sister has bought and is refurbishing a big Victorian house is so we can all come together for a week or so each year.

    There’s nothing quite like family.

    • Addison Fox says:

      Thank you, Elisa!!!!

      And what a wonderful thing your sister is doing – how lovely to have such an awesome place to gather as a family!


  8. Wendi Knape says:

    There are no words that I can convey to help bring your sorrow to an end. But the words you shared with us made my heart full because it reminded me of what is only here in spirit. Memories of family warm my heart. Thank you for sharing this short letter in your time of grief. That the joy of your moments of family time can be seen in the pages of your stories is a great gift.


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