a conversation about books in the winter's dark
I sit in a cold, quiet night, writing. The computer screen is like a moon for me, and I'm making shadows across its surface - words, wishes, darkness on the clean white light. Now and again I cross over to twitter, where a conversation about Patricia McKillip's books is taking place. My heart delights to be talking with kindred spirits across the cold, the oceans, into the great elsewhere, knowing I am elsewhere for them too. All of us inside the mystery that, by day, is just the world.
A lot of the conversation involves just naming her books. That is enough for understanding. And you know, I come here to write a post on what I love most about Patricia McKillip's stories, but as I begin typing I realise that's not the important thing from this evening. It's how I pause now and again while writing my own little story to talk to faraway people about a love we all share. It's about the light their voices make in this dark, like pieces of moons themselves - not that I dislike the dark, or the quiet, but it is nonetheless enchanting, warming.
While all of this is going on, twitter is also abuzz with how a man who can kill us all in a moment apparently fell asleep (or something?*) in the middle of tweeting a spelling mistake. Everyone is laughing; I think, everyone is a little frightened. Those dark ocean spaces between us feel eerie and vulnerable.
And then, some of us are talking about magic. About love, and the power of simple words, deep beauty. It makes me think, if everything goes dark, I will still know there are people out there who love the gentle magical lyricism of certain stories as I do, and who try to create something like it themselves in the world.
This for me is at least part of the power of books.
* Maybe he was distracted by the tragic bombing in Kabul. Serious-minded members of the Resistance chided people for making jokes about covfefe, but perhaps didn't see the depths of anxiety beneath the laughter. We are living in interesting times. I won't say more, for fear of crying on a chilly winter morning as the fog rolls in.
art by Kinuko Craft for Od Magic