We live in rancorous times. A friend called them strange and fearful. That’s why I got up at 3:53 a.m. this morning to look at the November moon eclipse. I needed something, something magical. I looked outside the window and saw a dark orange orb with silver sliver of light. To get a better look, I put on coat and hat. Lily, my Lab, and I stood in the backyard. I had read somewhere that this eclipse won’t come again for 980 years. Wikipedia says: This was the longest partial lunar eclipse since 1440, and the longest until 2669. Even Mary Queen of Scots or Henry VIII hadn’t been alive to witness it.
Last week our Women’s Writing Circle met. As always, we shared stories in a spirit of camaraderie, craft and inspiration. One feels a little less insignificant in a community of kindred spirits, as in, I’m not alone and this is a meaningful way to spend a morning. I had spent much of the week writing and I read an excerpt from my novel. It went well, although someone suggested she had never before heard about the type of woman I wrote, a widow in her fifties feeling foolish in front of her teenage son when she calls him to pick her up after leaving a man at a restaurant following his abusive remark. Another woman said the piece was both sad and yet the portrait of a woman made of steel. Another woman had recently dipped her toe into online dating like the woman in the piece and said, I’ve started doing it. Goal accomplished, something resonated. A woman handed me a bouquet of roses, one white and two dark pink, after she read remembrances of her mother and thanked me for bringing us together. The candle glowed in the center of the Circle. Oh, these stories of love, grief, loss and just how absurd life can be. I felt touched by the flowers. Outside the rain and the sun played off each other in a November dance of light and shadow.
Everything I’ve written will be forgotten someday. I write because it’s as necessary as breathing. I urge other writers to value their voice, revel in putting pen to page, reject negative repercussions. I shared Stephen King’s rules of writing. “Stopping a piece of work just because it’s hard, either emotionally or imaginatively, is a bad idea,” he writes. “Optimism is a perfectly legitimate response to failure.” Write for the pure joy of the thing, he says. If you tap into the joy, you can do it forever.
Optimism is much needed during days short of joy. As Thanksgiving approaches, I’m not going to rehash the gratitude blog post I’ve written in the past, although I am grateful for my life. In these strange and fearful times, I’m grateful for a November moon that comes once in a lifetime. A moon with shining sliver of light hung high in an imponderable sky.