Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Ever watch a candle's flame just before it dies? It flits and flickers, stretching higher, as if pulled by a puppeteer's strings. The flame then lowers, the wick curling down, just above the wax.

But, Writer, that flame's a fighter.

The wick, while lit, casts its promise across your page. A promise to burn. A promise to light your path, no matter how dark...

But you must show up to light it.

Always remember this: That wick--the flame's lifeline--is also its own nemesis. The flame will snuff out. The smoke strings that linger around your eyes and fill your nose, will stay with you.

This smoke, Writer, is a reminder and a promise. A reminder of the flame you'd lit. And a promise that it will return again--if you light it. The wax will harden. And it's up to you to throw it away. Don't look back at it, Writer. Then look back. Look into the dark. Remember it. Then, don't. It'll stay with you, anyway.

Your wick burns for the children who read your work for fun. It burns for the children whose own flames have snuffed out. Writer, you made them a promise the first time you lit the wick. And you made yourself a promise, too.

Put up a fight. Always, always light that wick, Writer. And when you do, follow the light. The darkness is there, too. It will always stay with you. So, follow the light anyway.

Keep writing, y'all! :0)


  1. What a great metaphor, Mellisa, as the darkness descends. In some ways, that is why the winter residency is special to me. We reach out and give each other light during dark times. Sometimes that is the most profound of all. But as you well describe, it is up to us every day to keep lighting the candle, and letting it burn through our words.

  2. Difficult not to give up and snuff out, sometimes, you know? But I think if we all remember the promise we made ourselves and the kids we write for, and light that flame then something will burn away--maybe the doubt, maybe parts of ourselves, the parts that suffocate our best work. I think it's difficult sometimes to remember that we can do something about all that doubt, fear, darkness. We can, as Ron suggests, "burn something down." Maybe that something's in the WIP. Maybe that something lives in each of us.