Day Nine – All Writers Can Shine
As I mentioned in a previous post, English is an amazing language and at times a difficult and confusing one! Especially, when a single word can be used in a variety of ways and change the context and meaning of a sentence.
Some English words can be a noun, verb and adjective.
The previous post’s example was ‘key’, today I will examine the way the word ‘light’ and various variations can be used to inspire a poem or a story and used in a piece of writing.
The dictionary provides an extensive list of meanings –
- something that makes vision possible by stimulating the sense of light.
- electromagnetic radiation in the wavelength that is visible to the human eye
- a source of light – a lamp or candle
- a flame or spark for lighting something eg. a cigarette
- a traffic light
- spiritual illumination
- understanding or knowledge
- enlightening information or explanation
- a particular aspect or appearance in which something is viewed
- a medium eg a window through which light is admitted
- a specified expression perceived as being in somebody’s eyes
- a set of principles, standards, or opinions
- *bring to light – to disclose or reveal
- *come to light – to be revealed or disclosed
- *in the light of with the insight provided by
- * see the light – to understand suddenly, to gain insight and to undergo conversion
- *see the light of day – to be born or come into existence – to be published or come to public attention
- having plenty of light; bright
- pale in colour or colouring
- having little weight; not heavy
- designed to carry a comparatively small load
- having relatively little weight in proportion to bulk
- carrying little or no cargo
- not abundant or intense
- of sleep or a sleeper; easily disturbed
- exerting a minimum of force or pressure; gentle or soft; a light touch
- resulting from very slight pressure; faint; light print
- requiring little effort; light work
- graceful, deft, or nimble
- lacking seriousness; frivolous
- of little importance; trivial
- free from care, cheerful
- intended chiefly to entertain; light reading
- of industry; requiring relatively small investment and usually producing small consumer goods
- lightly with the minimum of usage
- to become illuminated
- to catch fire; to set fire to
- to provide light in a place
- to settle or alight
- to arrive by chance; to happen
- with the minimum of luggage
Has your creative light been turned on yet by any of the definitions – a memory triggered, an idea generated?
Examine the way the word ‘light’ and various variations are used in the following sentences, choose one and develop a story after considering:
- Will it be an opening line or the ending?
- Can it be dialogue?
- What type of character or setting?
- What about the all-important conflict?
- Will it be a ‘slice of life’ piece or a completely fictional story?
- What about a poem?
- Turn the light on please.
- Bad light stopped play.
- He/She/We saw a distant light…
- She struck a light.
- He was a leading light in the community.
- It was the traditional Festival of Light.
Diwali is the five-day festival of lights, celebrated by millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains across the world. Diwali, which for some also coincides with harvest and new year celebrations, is a festival of new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil, and light over darkness. But Christmas and Ramadan are also festivals of light – in fact, most cultures and religions have a ritual or celebration involving light.
- The parcel felt light.
- Their financial problems appeared in a new light.
- I felt lighthearted when dancing at the party.
- We’ll have some light refreshments later.
- You are standing in my light.
- She didn’t believe her mother’s insistence that there ‘is always light at the end of a tunnel.’
- There is something about twilight I love.
- Ted laughed when he saw Mark – what a lightweight!
- Jack’s strength will lighten the burden.
- She was the new lighting technician.
- It was a lightbulb moment.
- Sheets of lightning stampeded the herd and terrified the drovers.
- Tread lightly on my dreams.
- When you alight from the train the police will be waiting.
- The children are such a delight.
- Oh, please, enlighten me!
- That planet is thousands of light-years away.
Lively Limerick by Mairi Neil
A young woman was named Lily Light
A glance in the mirror caused fright
she’d stacked on the weight
any diet too late
Lily’d ballooned like a building site.
Inspiration is all around when it comes to light because we see the sunrise and the sunset – daylight in between those two beautiful times and then the moon and moonlight takes over…
In case you are struggling to connect with any of the ideas so far think on these:
Other words for light (illumination) –
beacon, beam, brighten, bulb, candle, dawn, daybreak, fire, flame, flare, flash, fluorescent, glimmer, glow, ignite, illuminate, kindle, lamp, lantern, luminary, luminous, radiance, moon, neon, shine, spark, sunny, sunrise, torch.
Other words for light (of mood ) –
carefree, casual, cheerful, dainty, deft, delicate, easy, ethereal, faded, fragile frivolous, gentle, graceful, happy, lively, merry, mild, nimble, pastel, petty, portable, simple, slender, small, soft, trifling, trivial, undemanding, untaxing, weightless.
Other words for lighthearted –
blithe, buoyant, carefree, cheerful, gay, glad, happy, insouciant, jovial, lively, merry, rollicking, spirited, unconcerned, untroubled, upbeat, vivacious, volatile.
Other words for lighten –
allay, alleviate, bleach, brighten, decrease, dilute, ease, fade, gladden, gleam, illuminate, jettison, lessen, reduce, relieve, shine, trim, unburden, unload.
Other words for lightly –
daintily, easily, effortlessly, faintly, gently, gingerly, mildly, softly, subtly, tenderly
lightness and gaiety –
Advice from the Moon
Live life to the fullest
Be someone to look up to
Don’t be phased by difficulties
Take time to reflect
Enjoy a little space
Honour the cycles of nature
Light up the night!
–In Llan Shamir’s Advice from Nature series published by Leanin’ Tree
We are used to the sun being used as a symbol in song and poetry, not so many about the moon unless it is in a romantic or true love kind of way.
We tend to think and talk much more about light than darkness. But what about light in the darkness? This is a good definition of the moon — it is light in the darkness.
- Has there been anyone or thing that has been your light in the darkness?
- A belief system, a philosophy, a mantra, a person, a book, a song…
- There is a song – You Are My Sunshine – who or what is your sunshine, bringing happiness into your life?
- How do you create light when darkness surrounds you or those you love? This is especially relevant as we cope with the effects of COVID19 – share your antidote or secrets to keep those around you sane!
- Write a paragraph and give yourself the pleasure of seeing how you bring light to the darkness.
- Have you or do you ‘cheer’ someone up (perhaps yourself). Comforted someone grieving? Sponsor a child or a charity? Volunteer for a community organisation? Visit someone regularly? Listen to other people’s woes?
Make a list and write about one of the items
- Explain how the activity makes you feel like you are living life to the fullest — that you are at the phase of a full moon.
- When you are writing about this reflect on what you did when younger, what you do now – is it different? Why?
- Can you pinpoint the change/s?
- pets bring happiness and light into our lives as this Facebook meme confirms
Nuanced Words Of Light
- ethereal = light and airy
- ecru/sorrel = light brown
- aureole/corona/nimbus = light around a celestial object
- chiaroscuro = light and shade in art
- crepuscule/twilight/gloaming = fading light at end of day
- incandescent lamp = light bulb with filament
- laser = light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation
- photosynthesis = use of light energy by plant as an energy source
- aurora = light phenomenon of the night sky
- gossamer = light as gauze
- photic = concerning light
- douse/extinguish/quench/snuff= to put out a light
- optics = study of light
- radiate = giving off light
- soufflé = light fluffy baked egg dish
- opaque = not allowing passage of light
- balsa = light buoyant wood
- refraction = turning or bending lightwave
- sprinkle = light rain
- arsonist = person who lights fires
- light = lamp with light impulse
- klieg light = carbon-arc lamp making intense light
aphasic = having no light flashes – linked to language – aphasia – the loss of power to understand words
Can you write a story about someone with aphasia – what would it be like to have no ‘light come on’ or flashes of light to understand what people were saying or what you were reading?
Have You Stories About Firelight? Sitting around a Campfire?
Firelight Fantasies Freed
Mairi Neil, 2017
Campfire flames give permission to dream,
to imagine dancing nymphs – places unseen
firelight glow spreads warmth and peace
our everyday worries and stress to cease
bodies relax – almost back to the womb
when childhood stories banished gloom.
Fascination fired as fairytales surface –
princesses and princes acting with purpose
vanquished dragons and giant slayers
underdogs winning despite naysayers…
the blue smoke curls, orange flames sway,
mind given permission to stretch and play.
Memories triggered – some good, some bad
a treasury of tales, more dreams to be had
for a life, well-lived gathers light and dark
appreciating its richness just needs a spark –
a moment to sit, pause, stare, and detect
before pens record words sweet to select
Myriads of tales and thoughts a-swirling
like the flickering flames ideas distilling
sentences shaped ‘neath moon glowing bright,
inventiveness excited by shadow-filled light –
campfire closeness dispels city affectation
unleashing the desire for literary creation
Here are four short pieces of fiction using different interpretations of light and nuanced words. 4 flash fiction pieces by Mairi Neil
Enjoy flexing your feel-good writing muscles and feel free to share. I hope you can be inspired by some of these words, ideas or images to write!