Part of this is from a blog I wrote a very long time ago, but my feelings on the matter haven’t changed. Our world is full of a lot of dark things. It’s impossible to scroll through your facebook feed or through any news source and not find another Horrible Thing.
Far harder to find the good ones, to be honest.
I write romance and I add comedy to each and every story. Even my darkest tales have moments of light because I want my contribution to this world to be for the light. I’m not going to preach religion or any such thing, so don’t panic, I mean a much more vague version of the light. Like the general good and bad of the world…we each choose each day what things we add. We decide if we’re going to add angry words or happy ones. We decide if we’re sharing a smile or our misery.
I want my books to add to the light.
When I was a kid, I read Madeline L’Engle’s book like an addict. I loved her storytelling and the mixing of science fact and science possibility to create a world just like ours but somehow better. The characters came from families who promoted knowledge, books, scientific discovery and, like Calvin in the Wrinkle in Time books, this was not the world I knew. Imagining people like this were out there got me through some very dark times.
When I read A Ring of Endless Light, I cried. Vicky was like me–an artist, a creator. Identifying with her worry over the swallows nest, her fears about things like dying dolphins in tuna nets and finding joy in the water with Basil and his pod really got to me.
Being swallowed by the darkness was something I understood. One of my best friends–my first boyfriend–died of cancer before I read this book. I understood darkness that welled up, swelling and growing like a festering glob inside you, until the balance of light and dark shifted and the bleak things, the unholy ugly bits, ate your world.
I’d been in the darkness. It had swallowed all my light until I just lay in bed curled into a ball, unwilling to even dare look for the good in the world.
Grandpa dies, leaving Vicky in the novel to mourn not only the loss of him but also a child that passes in her arms. This brush with dark is too much for Vicky. She gets swallowed by the bitter and is afraid to search for light. It’s easy to give into the fear and desolation and live a life with choices that are made by fear.
But Vicky learned to look for the light. She learned to be the light. We can all be the light in the darkness by not acting out of fear. Not giving into hatred, anger, mistrust, frustration and instead sharing a laugh. A hug. A smile. By looking at the sky and finding wonder in the world around us, which isn’t all darkness, not if you really look.
L’Engle said it better.
“Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light.”
“It’s hard to let go of anything we love. We live in a world that teaches us to clutch. But when we clutch, we’re left with a fistful of ashes.”
“I saw Eternity the other night,
Like a great ring of pure and endless light,
All calm, as it was bright,
And round beneath it, Time, in hours, days, years,
Driven by the spheres,
Like a vast shadow moved, in which the world
And all her train were hurled.”
“It is possible to suffer and despair an entire lifetime and still not give up the art of laughter.”
“A good laugh heals a lot of hurts.”
Bring joy. Bring laughter. Bring light.
Heal the world with your brightness and dance among the stars.
Just some thoughts I was having today. Happy writing.