Monday, November 16, 2009

Light and Shadows

Morning Light,

William McGregor Paxton (1869-1941),

oil on canvas.

Sometime around the ides of August the light changes. From sharp, delineating clarity it softens to golden during the long, lazy afternoons. The first warning of the inexorable turn toward the last light of the sun's year. An ancient writer of romances named Essie Summers described it best. "The light is tender in August."

While sorting through my accumulated g-mails, I came across a sad message from a friend of Erik Ivan James. You may remember Erik -- both for his explicit sex scenes and for his unfailing encouragement and appreciation of other's writings. He died in September.

Another e-mail, in July from informed me, to my complete, blinking astonishment, that this blog ranked - at the time and, I assume, temporarily - 9th among romance blogs. One of Miss Snark's expressive acronyms is appropriate, but I was flattered, nevertheless.

Wild Child Publishing requested another short story for Weirdly 3, but I have no information on a pub date.

I am still surrounded by the decisions and detritis of death. Still, even after all these months. But I hope to resume my daily round of your blogs soon.


Vesper said...

Bernita, immerse yourself in that new short story for Weirdly 3. It might just be the hand to pull you out of the daily desolation...

I love your description of August light. Indeed, every year I feel that change in the light. It's beautiful, but sad too...

Bernita said...

Thank you, Vesper.
I wasn't clear - a story has already been submitted - but you are right.

StarvingWriteNow said...

Take your time, dearest. We'll be here.

BernardL said...

Small steps and morning light - harbingers of hope. Congratulations on the story. :)

moonrat said...

I feel about November the way you describe August, oddly. For me, November is strangely-lit and hollow, making me superimpose myself more on my own thoughts/idea. Fewer natural distractions, I guess.

Bernita, let me know any details of Weirdly 2 if you were involved--I'm putting together a Mischief publication list for 2009, and I'm probably being inept but I can't find it on the internet myself.

raine said...

I don't remember Mr. James, but am sorry to hear it. And don't worry about the calling on others. All in good time.
Yes, I already resent the shortened days, miss the gentle air.
Looking forward to your story will help.

Bernita said...

Thank you, troubles in the spring partly account for my well as my own timidity.

Eh, Bernard, they still might reject it!

"strangely-lit and hollow" indeed - but, for me,November has a paler sense of light and shadows and all the inchoate things unseen and regretted than golden August. November certainly is more "internal" as you say.
Weirdly 2 with my story "Corpse Candles" came out in 2008, an e-pub only,unfortunately.
No date yet for Weirdly 3.

Bernita said...

Raine,yes. The soft sweet air.
I believe he gave up his blog a couple of years ago to concentrate on business consulting.

Charles Gramlich said...

Yes, I've noticed that light. We saw it Saturday on our hike. Tissue delicate, like a fine silk gown.

Bernita said...

Charles, that is a delightful description!
A Lady of the Seasons sort of thing...

Dave F. said...

Back in the early 90's, I was the legal executor of my Aunt's estate and I spent a full year dealing with financial, tax and legal matters before the lawyer and I could close the estate. I know that's cold comfort but all this messy life we construct around us that seems to function so smoothly takes time to disassemble. I got tax forms for three years until the municipalities decided to stop sending them. Credit card offers took six years to stop. It took 18 months to get a headstone carved and set in place.

A mailing list has no heart, no memory. A phone solicitor is only interested in a sale. If the "name" is dead, they will sell whatever they sell to who is speaking on the phone. It's hurtful and foolish but they aren't paid for compassion.

I know that I'm not revealing any new truths but what I do know is that in the worst times of life, the world can be cruel and heartless. That these little manifestations are extra hurtful. and become terrible little indignities.

And in the end, when you finish this "stuff", you will only have the comfort of a job well done. That you did right by your beloved. There is very little comfort in that.

I only say these things as one who has gone through it. The process is cold but not endless. The important part of this is that in five, ten or twenty years you can look back and say that you did well by the dead and they would approve.

laughingwolf said...

welcome back, m'dear friend... you have been sorely missed!

grats on another acceptance, too!

bunnygirl said...

We don't get those golden afternoons until October down here on the Gulf Coast, but I treasure them.

Grief and adjustment happen on their own schedule, so keep being patient with yourself and the world. As long as you're moving in a positive, life-affirming direction, you're doing fine. Your pace is no one's business but your own.

Bernita said...

Yes, Dave.Exactly. At times it seems endless.
Personal effects are the most difficult.
Until I learned to cut a conversation and phone later, I found it frustrating to try to acquire information from official minions whose accent would choke a horse.
Credit cards are much easier to acquire than to cancel I've found.
Yet many have been kind - though it is bitter work.

I have missed you too, Laughing Wold. I hope you have fully recovered from that nasty fall last year. I know it took me months before I could walk without limping.

Bunny Girl, you are such a HONEY...

Demon Hunter said...

I hate the fall here--hot during the day and chilly at night. I cannot wait for winter. :-D

Congratulations on your story. :-D

Sorry to hear about your friend as well.

Natasha Fondren said...

I know! I was so sad. We'd kept in touch, now and then, up until about a year ago. Stupid how one lets life get in the way. Then the message from the friend. It was so kind of her. It'd be worse if people up and disappeared and you never know, but... still.

The world is so strange and foreign, now that I've moved to Arizona for the winter. I love it, but it still sorta boggles my mind. I've lived all my life in Ohio, sadly, so I can't get over it. I mean, how do you make small talk about the weather when every day is sunny and warm and beautiful? I mean, I don't know what to say anymore!

Dave F. said...

Credit cards are much easier to acquire than to cancel I've found.

Twenty years ago, My Aunt had "Store cards" and not credit cards. I had to get phone numbers and call 50 stores in New York City separately. The worst was the store that went out of business. The best was a dear sweet gal who could do four stores at once and told me about the closed store. Of course a closed store had no phone number (I blushed over the phone, I think). Now, I can look back and smile but it still hurts.

Most of those who act like blockheads (a polite word) never did this stuff. That's not an excuse to be a blockhead. I got the impression that that some thought since I knew I would be executor (by law I had to acknowledge the designation when my Aunt made her will) that I would know what I had to do. I did not have a clue. I looked at the legal forms in despair. I went to a lawyer who treated me very well.

No one knows what to do. No one knows how many little details must be handled. No one knows the time involved with seemingly uncaring bureaucrats or functionaries. Not until you've done it, or are in the process of doing it.

Look to the memories and the personal things that are good and provide comfort. In all the many years my Aunt lived in New York City, one day she met Beverly Sills (the opera singer) in the basement of Macy's Department store. I love opera and Sills' recordings thrill me for many reasons now. I guard a book that was hers. I almost won't let anyone touch it.

But as business-like as I sound, I've been where you are and it does get better. Look to the living for joy. Those are just words now.

sex scenes at starbucks said...

My husband works for a company where the goal is to make Executorship an easier and more concise process, via online applications.

Congrats on the sale! Brilliant news.

laughingwolf said...

i'm fine from that fall on the ice, thx bernita... and another that summer, from a boulder, when going fishing, just scars on my arm... no falls this year, thankfully

Whirlochre said...

Here in the UK, the washout that was August drip-dried into a September/October combo masquerading as July. Then, in November, came the middle of January.

Just add marauding Jack Frost Meets The Easter Bunny phantoms and a couple of vampires and hey presto — a submission for Weirdly 4.

Lost my Dad last Christmas btw — and it's the shockingly careless efficient people from the utility companies that seem to be the worst to deal with.

Bernita said...

"I cannot wait for winter."
Demon, You are not WELL!

Natasha, I believe the accepted phrase is "Mild, isn't it?"

Dave, you are such a dear guy.
I am fortunate in one thing. My husband was a lawyer (though he hadn't practised in years, having switched to admin instead) and so many of the strictly legal aspects have not been as difficult as they could have been. It helps to have been schooled in understanding the "think" behind much of the necessary documentation.

Sexy, thank you. The sale is not a sure thing yet. I don't count eggs as chickens.
With a nod to my almost forgotten l
Latin, I determinedly write "executrix" ( which I suspect is now considered an archaic gender separation) where necessary.And the powers-that-be can be damned if they don't like it.

Thanks Be for that, Laughing Wolf. You took quite a beating from that fall on the rocks. Made me ache in sympathy.

Bernita said...

Eh, Whirl, no one can beat that story of the vampire bunny that sucks tomatoes in the night.
I am sorry about your father.It's been a hard year for more than just me.

BernardL said...

'Eh, Bernard, they still might reject it!'

Once we write, finish, edit, and submit, it's time to celebrate. The rest is out of our hands. :)

Chumplet - Sandra Cormier said...

I find November days to be rather small, like the sky is closing in on my head.

I shared your reluctance to jump back into the blogging world -- I've felt the same way since last November. Sometimes it's hard to comment on things that might seem trivial when one has lost a family member.

But, this bunch of cyber-pals are so supportive and cheering, it's hard to stay away.

Frank Baron said...

I'm happy to see your spirit is on the mend. :)

Welshcake said...

It's good to see you blogging again, Bernita.

Bernita said...

"I find November days to be rather small..."
Sandra, that's a good description.
Yes, and grief tends to eat one's energy and one's courage.

Frank, Welshcake...thank you both.

Lisa said...

Lovely Bernita. So good to see you back.

writtenwyrdd said...

Lovely words, Bernita. I start feelign the lack of light this time of year. You know it too, being up North, how the light dies away at about 3pm to twilight in the heart of winter. If you've ever lived in teh tropics like I have and you move to northern climes, that change is quite a shock!

And now that it's November, and the days are getting so short, part of me likes the darkness, too. I guess because we all crave the solace of quiet and introspection at times. Sometimes you don't want it and rail against it; but mostly I think we need at least a little of that winter dark like we need to sleep and dream. Or maybe it's the world that needs to sleep and dream?

In any case, I'm looking forward to Weirdly 3!

Bernita said...

Lisa, thank you.

Written, cold and dark create in me the strongest urge to hibernate. I sometimes wonder if I were a bear in some former life!