Back toward the Light


Toward the end of the film, Fried Green Tomatoes, when the main character, who has been going through a mid-life crisis, suddenly starts to settle into a new, saner rhythm, her husband asks, “What changed?” She answers, “The light?”

While that’s not exactly true, I understand the thinking behind the line. Although in the modern first world we can control the light at any time of night or day, natural light still has a lot of power over us. Winter Solstice, two weeks ago, marked the start of increasing light every day, and on days when rain or snow haven’t messed with natural sundown, I have been feeling more hopeful and creative.

I want to dig into my novel again. It occurred to me that, although traditional conflict means making every possible situation and interaction get worse for your main character, the opposite might be just as stressful for some people. Dealing with a rash of unexpected good luck might lead to decisions that could be just as problematic as decisions stemming from bad luck.

The fact that my life has been in small ways imitating art these days surely has absolutely no possible bearing on this experimental idea.

A Call for Solstice Carols

stonehengewinterThe dark has been darking too early, too often and too darkly this past month and I am here to say that I am heartily sick of it.

I don’t mind the cold. That is just weather, and cold is easier on my arthritic bits than heat is. I don’t mind Boston weather, whether that means snow or icy rain, although I could do without the slush in intersections after all that sort of melts. Wading through four inches of ice water just to cross the street is part of the price we pay for getting to live in New England, where my heart is happy much of the time, although not particularly lately.

One of these days, I will have to write an ode to my Verilux HappyLight box, but I probably won’t have the energy to do that until spring, which only really gets here in April anyway, by which time (Please God!) I hope not to need to use it anymore.

I like my brother’s tradition of celebrating the Winter Solstice for what it is: the end of the increasingly short days and long, dark nights. He lives in Maine, which should really be its own time zone, so his winters are longer, darker, and colder than mine. Building in a celebration like that makes sense to me. Usually I light a candle, pick up my cat, Musashi, and dance around singing, Happy Solstice! Happy Solstice! until Musashi politely lets me know that he is quite done with the dancing. Then I put him down, blow out the candle, and go on with what I was doing, which is probably being depressed about how damn dark it is.

Surely, people, we can do better than that. So I call on all the poets and songwriters out there to start writing, publishing, YouTubing, and concerting Solstice Carols. Spread them wide across the land. Give me something to build into my year that talks about the return of the light and not just how many toys we can get.

Thank you for your attention. Now go take a nap to avoid thinking about all that darkness happening.

We will now take a break through Christmas. See you again on Boxing Day!