Friday, July 19, 2013

What's in a Theme, Part 1

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What’s in a Theme, Pt. 1

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be stuck on a deserted island? I thought about that cliché dinner table question when I was writing Hearts in Exile. Loralee is left exiled on an island in Chapter One, and though she’s NOT alone, she feels isolated and terrified, stripped away from the life she knew to face a completely unfamiliar world.

As I wrote Sir Robert’s story, I realized the deserted island theme was emerging again. No, he’s not left stranded on an island—well, at least not for a decade like Loralee. But, his exile from the life he knew came just as hard and just as unexpected when his parents died like so many others in the Great Plague. He too, came close to dying, and had it not been for Loralee, he would have been a goner.

And that’s where his exile truly began. Stripped away from his everyday life of modest means, he finds himself with no other feasible choice than to be recruited into a group of other orphans, all to be trained as paladins. He really didn’t want that life, didn’t ask for it, just as Loralee didn’t deserve her exile.

Yet, they both survived. She with sheer will and the help of her loving adoptive dragon “parents”, Xaxony and Kershar. And he with uncommon physical resilience and Loralee’s encouragement.

Sure, they struggled with fear and battled emotions that sometimes overwhelmed them. But, they didn’t flop on the ground, cry “Mercy!”, and go crazy. Not even Tom Hanks crazy.

I admired them both the farther I got into the story. And I wished that I could be like them. To face my challenges and fears head on without cringing in fear and self-doubt, because more than once I’ve been exiled, too.

When my grandmother succumbed to Alzheimer’s, when I left home for college, when I transferred from that college to attend another when I got married, when I left work to have our first child, when we moved six weeks after her arrival to a completely new town, when my mother died in 2003, and when we moved again seven years and two more kids later to another new town.

Through all these changes, I’ve felt isolated at some point, bereft of the things I’d come to know. Each time, I felt the rug pulled from beneath my feet, and it took quite a while for me to right myself and grow accustomed to the new world I’d been thrown into. I’m still crawling around on the ground from our last move and from the new world of merging writing and motherhood.

But, now I realize that after every past moment of exile, I DID eventually claw my way back to my feet. Yes, it took a long time, but I did persevere. I did adapt to the new world. I finally found my place in it, though it wasn’t as easy and smooth as others might have found their groove.

So, I guess Loralee and Sir Robert aren’t so much better than me after all. That’s what I have to remember when I fear that I’ll never get off the deserted island of change and back into the contentment of adaptation. I have to remember that Loralee and Sir Robert’s story really has mimicked my own life. They got back on their feet after every one of life’s upsets. And so did I. And so I will again…eventually.

***Tour-Wide Drawing***

Entries as of 7/19/13   9

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$10 Amazon Gift Card, Dragon Necklace, I ♥ Dragons Tote Bag, This Gal (or Guy) Loves Dragons T-shirt, Hearts in Exile Notebook, and set of three signed playlist postcards. 

To enter, just purchase a copy of Hearts in Exile from any of the online retailers above, and email your receipt (or confirmation code) to ME at: Drawing to be held on August 1, and it's open worldwide!!!

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  1. Have I ever felt exiled? I don't think so. But isolated or separated from the greater world, yes. When I returned from my deployment, 2006-2007, I felt different. Not alone or anything. Just different from the rest of the world who scurried about with their lives, worried about this or that, compared to the past year of living in the desert, assigned to a battalion whose Soldiers went into Iraq every day, and that lost two Soldiers Killed In Action, including one from my company, and suffered Soldiers wounded in combat. And, no misunderstanding here, I never experienced combat myself. Yet, when I returned, for awhile I felt separated from the rest of the world. I guess that might fit your question of ever having felt exiled. Maybe. Good luck with the tour!

    SS Hampton, Sr., author

  2. It's harder to feel cutoff or exiled, or even alone in today's world. I think back to my first trip to England just after my college graduation. Friends were to arrive two days later, but there I was in a strange new place, knowing no one. But even then, I guess, my ability to make the most of being alone allowed me to cope, to wander the streets of the suburb where our student hostel was. Since then, I love to explore new places on foot, get to know them and observe the people who live there. All in all, it was a good experience.


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