Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Oh, I've been such a misbehaved writer.  Yet another weekend away from work.

This past week marked the 100th birthday of the Deal Fire Company, so I attended their celebratory banquet for firefighters, friends, and family.  It was just off the beach, so if you snuck along the dunes and squeezed through a hole in the fence, you could reach the ocean.  Baked clams, oldies music, the rhythm of the waves...What's not to love?

The Triangle Factory fire, 1911.
When a good friend invited me to come, I was absolutely thrilled.  It sounded like a good time, sure, but  the fact that it was in honor of the Fire Company made it that much more enticing.  Fires and firefighting have always intrigued me.

But don't worry, I'm not a pyro.  Far from it.  Fire is perhaps my greatest fear.  Not candles or bonfires, but inescapable infernos.  The kind that turn homes to ash or destroy miles of forest.

And then there's this one.  New York, 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory.  I can't think of an event in all history that intrigues me more, which is odd, since I usually prefer maritime history.  Who knows?  Maybe, in a past life, I died trying to escape these flames.

Now, to link back to writing...

Writing is one of the ways I confront my fears; that's probably why fire often makes an appearance in my work.  Especially the Triangle Factory fire.  I'm not sure why it's therapeutic, but if I had to guess, I'd say that when I'm writing about it, I have control over it.

But fears aren't all that pop up repeatedly.  Thinking of the stories I've written, as well as those I plan to write, I can easily pick out common images and themes.  Of course they don't appear in every work, but still, they show up in quite a few:

Fire.  Time.  Golden Retrievers.  A cemetery next to my elementary school.  South Jersey.  Sailing.

Do you find that common themes pop up in your work?  What are they?  What about fears?  Does writing help you face your fears?  How so?

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