Friday, April 13, 2012

L is for . . .

Light, both real and metaphorical. It intrigues me.

Real light always wins. It banishes darkness every time. 

It’s the fastest traveler in the universe.  If you could travel at the speed of light, so I’m told, you could go anywhere in the universe in zero seconds. (Intrigued? Go here for more.) 

Photographers and other visual artists use light to create depth and interest. Morning or afternoon light, striking the subject at a slant, dramatizes, picks out intricate details and leaves mysterious areas of darkness.

A ritual at my house is commenting on the change in light as seasons change. It’s gradual, of course, but one day near the solstice or the equinox, the light will be different enough to notice. Faulkner noticed, even entitling a novel, Light in August.

Then there are those evenings when the fading light is blue and transcendent and tinges everything with its failing pulse. Pure magic.

Metaphorically speaking, language is a lot like light. “Lucid” means to transmit light. Lucid prose is transparent and easy to understand. But a perfectly lucid story will be a boring story. Storytellers must cast shadows.  Readers demand the drama of light battling with—and usually defeating— darkness.

No one wants to read about the happy protagonist lolling about in the sunshine—not for long anyway.


  1. I love to watch the sunset from an upstairs window. It's the best light of the day and seen from upstairs it's even better.

    They say that the flame on a candle can reach into your heart.

  2. I love how the light changes with the seasons. It's one of the reasons I couldn't stand living in Phoenix. It was always just bright sun. ;0)

  3. I have a love affair with light. I spend a lot of years as a theatrical lighting designer. I love to manipulate light through the air until it illuminates the world on stage. LIght is magic to me. My favorite natural light is when the rays of the sun breakthough gray clouds after a storm. My grandfather used to tell me they were a soul's path to Heaven.

  4. Love this post, especially the bit about language being like light. So true! I have always been fascinated by the way that what humans see and how we see colour so much of how we think and feel. Yes, storytellers must definitely cast shadows, if only for the bright bits to be seen more clearly. Very nice. Glad I dropped by:)

    Fairytale Review: 'Fanta-Ghiro the Beautiful'