Letting in the Light

‘ ” ” ” ” ” ” ‘‘ ‘‘ ” ” ” ‘Solstices and EquinoxesThe Summer Solstice occurs in the Northern Hemisphere this year on Thursday, June 20, at 10:04 p.m. (PDT) when the sun reaches the Tropic of Cancer, its farthest point north of the Equator. Great controversy surrounds the Summer Solstice. How can it mark the first day of summer? It is technically mid-summer, midway through the growing season. Every school kid knows that summer begins the day school is out. In any case, the solstice, both summer and winter, are astronomical events and not calendar events.

Worldwide, the Summer Solstice is a celebration of the importance of light physically (planting and harvesting) and spiritually (enlightenment).

A friend recently introduced me to Pat Schneider’s latest book, How the Light Gets In: Writing as a Spiritual Practice. Two days after beginning to read the book, I had the pleasure of participating in a telechat / interview of Schneider with IAJW founder, Ruth Follit. The interview was a good introduction to Pat and to Amherst Writers & Artists.

Reading How the Light Gets In challenges me to reconsider what I am doing and where I am going with writing. I am aware that I might not have gone as far or as deep as I need to go to get to the story I need to write.

A handful of themes and metaphors inform my writing. I have explored each at length; but, apparently not to the depth required for enlightenment. A challenge lies ahead. Schneider talks of following the path into the dark woods of the mind, echoing Auden’s brooding words, “Follow poet, follow right / To the bottom of the night.”

A spiritual practice from the beginning, writing is a form of meditation that suits me. Like Pat Schneider, I sit, I wait, and I open myself. The meaning of Schneider and her book showing up at the time of the Summer Solstice—the celebration of the light—is not lost on me. The convergence of these objects are signs written to me. I must get what the writing means.

4 thoughts on “Letting in the Light

    1. Dennis VanderWerff Post author

      I am particularly fond of the Auden poem (In Memory of W. B. Yeats). The “Follow, poet…” line could be understood as either “… follow right / To the bottom of the night” or “… follow write / To the bottom of the night.”

  1. Anna Stewart

    Writing has always been my meditation, if not officially so, one I need to do with greater regularity. I am curious about the book you’ve referenced. Good luck on your quest for “deeper”.


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