David Mitchell's The Bone Clocks is "a good read," as we addicts would put it. Mitchell has a deft hand with imagery and there were several I wanted to remember. However, I was reading it in Overdrive on the iPad and the software will not allow any copying, so I started a text document to write them down. Only gradually did I realize that many of them focused on light. He writes that "(b)y seven o'clock, twilight is draping the attic in blues, grays and blacks. The little lamp on the piano glows daffodil yellow." Our piano has just such a lamp and, yes, its light in winter is warmly comforting. At a key moment in the novel, "motes of dust swirl in the sunshine slanting down the wall of books. Golden pollen." What a gorgeous image of both the illumination and fertility of knowledge!
Absence of light is at best ambiguous: "In the velvet darkness, I see her smile. A blade of happiness slips between my ribs." John Milton had to create an oxymoron to evoke Hell as "darkness visible," an image I far prefer to Orwell's prosaic "double plus ungood" to pinpoint the worst we can imagine. In literature, as in life, the presence or threat of darkness serves only to highlight the promise of light.
Solstice is almost upon us. We will soon be tilting back towards the sun. And so, too do our days pass. This canvas, which was started yesterday, is an attempt to capture that moment when the day is almost over but there remains a glowing cobalt world. And the faith that light will return.