Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Lighthouse in Wintertide

Sean Harris BGN
It has something to do with light.

Candles, bulbs, roaring fires and the stars above; this time of year is heralded by them, cutting through the darkness of a Winter’s night. Mankind has always followed the illuminated path for eons as we search for light in the darkness of insanity.

They not only light the way, they are the way. Singular candles hold vigil in households beckoning loved ones safe return. We watched 26 lone flares disappear in the chilled night sky, snuffed out by the darkness between the stars. Cathedrals and roadsides are adorned by a congregation of candles lit to honor the memories of the lost. The Maccabees saved their tribe's tradition by coveting the flame. Churches, Mosques, and open hearths draw diverse peoples closer to the warmth. 

Stars are nothing but the brilliance of our past; events ceased long ago; memories hanging in the night sky. They have embellished many a nation’s flag inspiring hope. The very twinkle of that which may no longer exist lights the way for all to wish to deliver either exotic spices or goodwill.

Not all candles are so hallowed. Some sputter more smoke than light. These candles forged long ago are cast of poor tallow. It is a reflection of generations of starless nights. If their lone spark hasn’t been extinguished there lies hope. Otherwise the smoldering ash is a child of the unbridled wind.

The world is a calamity at best, randomness we spend lifetimes forcing symmetry to. How can one stoke this sacred flame when the reckless winds of time are so relentless? We have all seen lives pass away and new ones begin in this dark Solstice. We’ve seen flames that once burned bright falter and cease. Like remembrance candles, each flame will eventually be snuffed out by the passing of time.

Then I look into a baby’s eyes as they perused the
beauty and complexity of our world. There the flame burned the brightest and the most pure, its glow reflected in her parent’s eyes, their parent’s eyes, and in all who bear witness. How can such a fragile entity capture such power so effortlessly?

I spoke with a person whose loss was as raw as a freshly scraped knee in a schoolyard. Despite her melancholy a glow came over her face as tales were told, warm memories rekindled, and as words were shared a smile not thought possible moments before shone.

Then I got it. What broke through the shadow of her smile was not solely hers; it was that of her deceased loved ones. Their legacy was passed on in her every thought, deed, and grin. In those moments we are at our best; reflective, resilient, and humble. It was the same flame burning bright in that child’s eyes, a reflection of her soul and those of all who preceded her. In the shadow-play cast by that dancing flame, I believe I saw God wink.

Shelter that flame. Remember when it burned brightest and pass that memory forward. No darkest night, no tempestuous wind can permeate its glow. Don’t worry if it withers down to a spark. You are never truly in the dark. You still possess the makings of a righteous fire.

May you find safe harbor led by the light that burns within. Hold your loved ones close, be them by your side, away, or in the hereafter. Shine. Then passion enflammée; your passion will reawaken. Then you too can look into a fire through a child’s eyes and get it.

It has something to do with light.

(special thanks to Lotti, Amy, Shelagh, Charles Bukowski, Nick Lowe, and Newtown.)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Writing Hell week 4

It is the end of Nanowrimo 2012.

What is this Nanowrimo? National Novel Writing Month, 50,000+ words of a novel in 30 days. As of midnight I clocked in at 90135 words, well over 50,000  of the tallied words less than a month old so in the course of this exercise I over doubled the pages of my manuscript to now just over 300 pages. My last novel clocked in at 400 pages so because I took on this task and kept to it I am three quarters of the way to a completed 1st draft of The Kahunas of Lobster Cove. Now I don't expected the pages to actually be readable to others until Springtime but I appreciate the productivity of my efforts.

So according to Nanowrimo I am a winner, right? Does the novel have to be finished as well to qualify. FYI: just in case I added the words "The End" to the conclusion of my last writing, Chapter 16; Ebb Tide, so there!

Now there is a new manuscript to be dealt with, one I can no longer shove into the bottom drawer of my writing desk.

  • STILL my job search is a total failure, I am still unemployed with the nation's and my own personal fiscal cliff looming.
  • STILL my toilet sings to me (at least is stopped crying)
  • STILL my tub decides to not drain, then drain, and then not drain, at will.
  • STILL my car rabbles and shakes and now decides to pee through whatever gas I can afford to give it. Mechanics say driving it can't make it much worse and as I listen to its choppy idle I agree.
  • STILL my phone and internet connections cut out long enough to contact my provider, then return after an appointment has been set, then return. "They can't fix what ain't broke" they tell me and for them to come to my home would be fruitless and they would have to give me another bill I can't pay.
  • STILL my thermostat is locked at 40 degrees as it have for three seasons now

  • STILL my writing continues.
 You can see how each bullet point impacts the others, a quantum theory that make my nights long and my teeth grind. Now it seems the only place where the rush of "What if"s and "What Now"s fade into the distance is when I write. Who would have thought?

Nanowrimo forced me to write out of my comfort zone. During the scary ride I learned the depth and the strength of my characters much to my surprise. Plot-points, never charted or even dreamed of, appeared on the page leaving me as surprised as the characters dealing with them. Most of all I read as they led with their hearts. On my best pages they weren't pontificating about life, they were living it.

I will take their lead. When this new novel is complete (or for the Nanowrimo police, "Now that my new novel is complete...) I hope that the readers can gleem what I have from its telling.

Its December 1st. 
NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing month is over. 
PerFiJoMo, Personal Job Finding month has begun. 

oh yeah, and coming soon, NaHo-Ho-HoMo, but I don't even want to think about that yet. 
One deadline at a time.

-S.E. Toon