Subconscious Drive

As I wrapped up the final book project for Folded Word’s 2012 list, I realized that my subconscious might be driving our paperback acquisitions. The last word of Guy Cranswick’s Nine Avenues (to be released by New Year’s Eve) is home. As is the last word of Mel Bosworth’s Freight (2011). Add to that the prevalence of homesickness and the redefinition of home that takes place in Smitha Murthy and Dorothee Lang’s Worlds Apart (2012) along with the analysis of childhood environs in Jessie Carty’s Paper House (2010) and you have the concept of home being central to every non-anthology paperback that Folded Word has published to-date.

Now I am a scientist by training (MS Biology 1995), so I understand that correlation does NOT equal causation. My search, whether conscious or subconscious, is not the only reasonable explanation for the prevalence of home in my print selections. Alternatives might be:

  • Home is a central concept for most humans, therefore it plays a key role in most manuscripts.
  • Being a competent writer requires a degree of “square peggedness” because the societal tension created by not fitting in allows a person to more objectively observe the world and its inhabitants, thereby creating a yearning to find a place to fit in (i.e. social/emotional home). The resultant observations form the basis of the conflicts that make written work interesting.
  • The appearance of home in these books is mere coincidence. Random. A fractal-like artifact of our chaotic submissions queue.
  • These books haven’t actually been about home at all, I just projected that onto them. [Any thoughts, my long-suffering authors?]

I’m not sure how aggressively to explore this. It’s difficult to design any kind of scientific analysis since there can be a 2-3 year lag between the time a submission is accepted and the book actually makes it into print. But I think it would be really interesting if, after the relocation issue is settled and I’m home (where/whatever that ends up being), Folded never publishes a home-centric book again.

I would love to hear alternate theories or support/rebuttal of the theories above. I’d also love to know if you’ve recently read any books that deal with the concept of home, or even if you are writing one yourself. The comments section below is ready and waiting for your input:-)

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kaleidescope view of FREIGHT’s final word

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3 thoughts on “Subconscious Drive

  1. This is so interesting, to find unexpected patterns like this. I don’t think the “home”-theme is mere coincidence. Another aspect could be that the theme of the first Folded book “Paper House” (with the powerful cover with a breaking home, and the girl walking away from it in own colors) also influenced following manuscript submissions?

    And a link: a while ago, i tried a thematic analysis of my recent writing in a theme diagram. Maybe that would be a fun & curious way to explore the thematic connections between the Folded books + chapbooks, too: thematic analysis of my recent flash writing

    1. Wow, that blog post you linked with your thematic processes is really interesting. Thanks! And, as one of the authors involved, thanks for letting me know I’m not going crazy:-)

  2. Fascinating and compelling. I need to add my own “Gizella” (2014, we hope) to the heap of unconscious material: Gisela also was driven from her cosy home in Bavaria to barbaric Hungary, the land of the nomadic, riding Magyars.

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