The Face of the Sun

We are blinded


our eyes only able

to see the brightest light

all else fading into


burned into silhouette

by our need to

gaze into

the face of the sun

We are drawn always to the brightest flame

One of our first lessons as children walking outside is to avoid looking into the light.

For more light, dangerous and otherwise, my fantasy novel, The Guests of Honor, is available here. Its sequel, With Honor Intact, can be found here.


Day Break

Day cracks the horizon here-

A hard fought battle, trailing the tattered remains of night

In fading strands of pink, of purple, of blue so thick the sky chokes with it.

Elsewhere, the dark flips to light with little ceremony-

A pale and faded transition.

Here, the day fights for purchase,

For every hour of light before being swallowed

By the lengthening shadows of winter.

IMG_0293Any light in winter is a fierce and hard fought battle

I am as interested by the northern light shows as I am by the many stories behind them.

For more fierce -literal- lights, my fantasy novel, The Guests of Honor, is available here. Its sequel, With Honor Intact, can be found here.


Lightening the Load

My great-grandfather set trees on fire.

(Sometimes literally out in the forest and sometimes metaphorically with candles and beads and handcarved ornaments)

Dark in the winter and people’s heads sometimes darker than the outside world.

What pictures I’ve seen were full of candles and fire and light in every corner that could spare a glow.

A poor reflection of the absent sun but a faithful reflection of the stubborn hearts of those that would-

Face down the darkness, candle-fierce.

IMG_1272We’ve always valued the lights in the darkness.

The best way to deal with the darkness is to set it on fire.

For more fires, darkness, and lights, my fantasy novel, The Guests of Honor, is available here. Its sequel, With Honor Intact, can be found here.

In Pursuit of Light

People get strange in the dark.

As the night lengthens and the day shortens,

We adjust to the absence of light.

Some curl up under artificial fluorescence,

Bathed in sickly, not-light until they can ignore

The darkness outside.



(South gets darker faster than we remember, but it is warmer and easier to find other compensations.)

Still others are fascinated by the half-light,

Sit out in the cold and dark to play and live

And wait, breathless, for

The pale and distant sun.

IMG_0257We are ever more aware of the sun as it vanishes

Light is so important to our relationship with the world, something that is always made clear in its absence.

For more tales of light and its absence, my fantasy novel, The Guests of Honor, is available here. Its sequel, With Honor Intact, can be found here.

A Stream of Light

We were never cliff divers.The rocks were too sharp and the current too uncertain to chance it. Others jumped.

Some even were unharmed.

The light cuts through the water here. Too many trees, too many mountains block sunlight, so all that is bright pools against the cutlines of the rivers.

Hard to look too long into the water. We called it wave blindness, although there were other names for the same thing.

We knew the water was there, could hear it, feel it even against our feet and hands.

But our eyes were blinded, filled full of an endless ring of light.

On those days, it was best to stay off the water, direction, depth, and danger covered by the reflection. On those days were when the divers jumped.

We were never cliff divers.

There’s a moment where you stand on that edge over the water.

Where, when you look down, all the dangers have vanished.

Only the light remains.

When you dive, you dive not into water, but-

Into possibility

Into an endless stream of reflected light

 IMG_1720Sometimes light hides as much as it reveals

Light is an interesting obscuring mechanism and an irresistable drawing force.

I’m fond of playing with light and illusion. If you’d like to see some of my other efforts with it, my fantasy novel,The Guests of Honor, is available here.


I wonder sometimes when I pick up a story just what tragedy awaits me.

It is a strange feeling. However, in a number of the genres that I read I am resigned that the stories that are not explicit comedies will deal largely with the worst parts of people and the world around us.

There is a beauty in this and a power that I often enjoy reading.

It makes me sad sometimes because it seems a deliberate cut of so much of what makes a world live and breathe.

I have never agreed with that famous line from Anna Karenina, “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

Truthfully, unhappiness is often predictable. It is broad strokes painted on a black canvas.

Is there adultery? Is there a dead child? Torture? Death? Disease?

Happiness is so much stranger, so much more composed of odd bits haphazardly fit together.

Happiness is personal.

A dead child is a short-hand for a kind of emotional tragedy that everyone can relate to.

How much harder is it to explain the joy that someone takes in rearranging the pieces of broken sea glass they place in the window?

But there is no need to have merely one note, one emotion in a story.

I think sometimes that we take the wrong lesson from the art of chiaroscuro, the usage of light and shadows.

The power of shadows is not that they become the complete image themselves, but that they highlight the light beside them.

How much stronger is a joy mounted against a backdrop of pain?

When we paint only in grey, there is skill and technique in fine differences of shade and colour.

But few paintings or stories can match the power of bold strength and colour standing out against the darkness.

IMG_0668All the best of light and shadow

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about the value of contrast. I hope that these thoughts are useful to others as well.


For my own play with light and shadows, my fantasy novel, The Guests of Honor, is available here.