They say to write about what you know. So it’s not a coincidence that I chose redemption as both a blog topic and a book theme.
By redemption I’m not talking about just the religious, throw-yourself-at-the foot-of-the-cross-or-prayer-mat kind of way. Those work, absolutely. But people go after it in all sorts of ways. I did, And my characters are.
To reclaim my self-respect, I had to deal with another R word, as in “are you willing?” For me, I had to be willing to let go of what other people did or did not do to me and instead focus on what I did. Not just to them, but to me, too. Damage is damage. Hurt people hurt people, as they say. And hurting people hurts us.
I wasn’t willing. Holding on to perceived indignities and ill-informed but no less rabid judgments made me feel superior, in a desolately lonely kind of way. Being right felt so wrong. (So does delusion.)
Nothing was gonna happen to fix my relationships until I’d had enough of feeling like crap. I had to learn to forgive others before I could forgive myself, which is a pretty arrogant thing to say now, considering I’ve since discovered it was almost always me who had caused the mess. A mess for which I condemned them to suffer the absence of my radiant presence. (Epilogue: They celebrated as soon as I left the room.)
But enough about me. This theme is everywhere, across myriad media.
If you’re interested, here’s a few places where the theme of redemption hangs out:
Redemption in Fiction
- Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
- The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
- Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
- Atonement by Ian McEwan
- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
- A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Redemption in Film
- Just Mercy
Redemption in Visual Art
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