A Light in the Darkness (Or, Watching the Fireflies)

It’s night–a warm, muggy summer night in the hills of east-central Vermont.  It’s late.  I’ve always been a night person.  Even though I arise by five thirty most mornings, I still shake hands with midnight from time to time.  Tonight is one of those nights.

 

I’m at the window, the breeze wafting in, carrying with it the sound of crickets as they play their fiddles, unseen, in the grass that needs mowing.  Out there, beyond the house, is the meadow–five acres’ worth, surrounded on all sides by woodlands.  It’s a private spot, down a dirt road.  There is no neighbor within a half-mile.  And while sometimes, the distant sound of a car engine or chainsaw can be heard, for the most part, it is quiet here–except for the crickets and the hoot owls and the creatures of the night who crawl and run and slither through the grass.

 

I’m not sure what I’m looking for.  There are stars above–the night is clear.  I can see the silhouette of the trees as they sway, this way and that.  But then, then . . . I see it.  A light, a flicker in the dark.  And there!  Another one.  And another.  And another.  It’s like a pre-4th-of-July fireworks show.  Fireflies.  There are so many of them out there.  When one goes dark, another takes its place.  They blink, in and out, light and dark, in a showy, rhythmic dance upon the air.

 

I am mesmerized.  It is almost hypnotic.  There’s another one, and another still.  Why do they do it?  What motivates these tiny insects to produce such a vibrant, magical show?  There are several reasons, actually.  But one is . . . a desire to be noticed.  To be seen.  A call across the dark to attract a potential mate.  “Here I am,” they’re saying.  “See my light.”

 

I step back from the window.  See my light.  Isn’t that, in essence, what we’re doing when we’re sharing our writing, our artwork, our creations?  After all, sharing is hard.  There may be praise and encouragement and acceptance “out there”–and surely there will be.  But there will also be rejection.  Criticism.  Scathing reviews.  Whenever you acquire a new reader, a new viewer, a new listener . . . you don’t know what the reaction will be.  It might go either way.  You may be on a good run, receiving positive feedback day after day.  But the next day, some new criticism may emerge.  A negative review may be posted.  It’s impossible to predict.

 

I return to the window, and witness a dozen or more fireflies glowing over the meadow.  Then more join in, and more, and still more.  The displays on the 4th won’t match this.  And I realize–these fireflies, these beings who are a fraction of the size of my fingernail, are not afraid.  They aren’t overthinking things.  They’re just glowing.

 

See my light.

Do you have an idea you want to write, but haven’t yet, perhaps reluctant on account that “it won’t be any good”?  Or . . . do you have a recently finished work collecting digital dust on your hard drive, hidden from the eyes of others?  “It’s not strong enough,” you might say.  “People won’t like it.  Who am I to share this with anyone?” And even here, in the WordPress community . . . do you have a blog post in mind but are hesitating, second-guessing, questioning whether to publish it?

 

Mitchell Brant would certainly be able to relate to this.  And so would Joe Marma, Marc Kuslanski, and Ryan SwintonThe Eye-Dancers and The Singularity Wheel are, at their heart, about confronting insecurities and coming to terms with what and who we are, and learning to accept it.

 

Do you feel the fire within, the ember that burns, seeking release and recognition?  Are you attuned to the song only you can sing, the word-picture only you can paint?

See my light.

Directly in front of me, not five inches beyond the window, a firefly glows.  Farther out, a dozen others join him.  I don’t know how long the dance will persist.  Maybe a few more minutes.  Maybe all night.  Maybe they’ll fly and glow and glide till dawn, keeping at it until the first reddish tinge of the sun comes into view.

 

As for me, it’s time for bed.  I need to get some sleep.  There is writing to do on the morrow, scenes to craft.  Characters to live with.  Situations to explore.

Stories to share.

 

Thanks so much for reading!

–Mike

26 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lisa Chesser
    Jun 29, 2019 @ 20:26:47

    I forgot about fireflies. I haven’t seen any in such a long time. What a lovely reminder! Fantastic in every way.

    Reply

  2. Michele Anderson
    Jun 29, 2019 @ 21:01:45

    A magical time.

    Reply

  3. magarisa
    Jun 29, 2019 @ 21:26:15

    What a wonderful analogy! An uplifting, relatable post.

    Reply

  4. ellie894
    Jun 30, 2019 @ 00:02:31

    I love fireflies! Another wonderful write. Have a happy fourth Mike! 😊

    Reply

  5. foodinbooks
    Jul 01, 2019 @ 16:23:07

    We don’t have fireflies here in the Southwest, so I am envious. I really appreciated this post and the positive vibe you shared. Have a very happy July 4th!

    Reply

  6. ghostmmnc
    Jul 02, 2019 @ 14:22:47

    I love seeing fireflies, but we don’t have them here. I see them when we visit our daughter in another state. They are magical!
    May the fireflies continue to light your imagination!
    Happy 4th of July! 🙂

    Reply

  7. Karina Pinella
    Jul 04, 2019 @ 13:52:08

    Undisputedly, creative writing is a form of self-expression, but what you do with it is what may be difficult to sometimes deal with, as you indicated. How much do you want to share and with whom and for what purpose? Sometimes with so many questions, one can be discouraged. I wonder how many writers hesitate due to not really knowing the kind of audience they want to write for. Another challenge is if I want to write just for me and then decide to share it, I may be forced to peg myself due to market forces. And on it goes . . .

    Reply

  8. Ste J
    Jul 07, 2019 @ 07:49:42

    I have been on and off working on a novel but making it work is harder than I thought it would be. I think I’m being to ambitious and need to reign it in somewhat but then maybe the perspective is wrong. I keep poking at it but with three jobs and a baby on the way it is just a struggle getting some blog posts out and some books read.

    Reply

  9. The Eye-Dancers
    Jul 07, 2019 @ 23:56:59

    I definitely can relate! It’s not easy to write a longer work when there are so many other things to do. I know, for me, I was tempted to give up a couple of times, but in the end, I suppose it’s just a need, a “have-to” to get the story finished and out there, one way or the other. Even if it takes years.:) (Which it did for me.) Good luck with your novel! And keep poking away!

    Reply

  10. Anna Waldherr
    Jul 14, 2019 @ 18:09:01

    Lovely.

    Reply

  11. The Eye-Dancers
    Jul 15, 2019 @ 02:16:42

    Thanks so much, Anna!:)

    Reply

  12. Lyn
    Jul 15, 2019 @ 11:29:07

    Sadly, I’ve never, ever seen fireflies.

    Reply

  13. Laurel Leigh
    Jul 15, 2019 @ 20:11:37

    Reblogged this on Dear Writers and commented:
    Dear Writers: I really appreciated the imagery and insight into writing in this post from The Eye-Dancers. I had to share it!

    Reply

  14. YBP
    Aug 15, 2019 @ 09:55:17

    Simply magical! Oh, and I SEE YOUR LIGHT! I just love it! Keep shining ever so brightly! 💫✨✨✨✨✨💫

    Reply

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