December 13, 2010KR BlogKRWriting

Lucy, the Way of Light

It’s December 13th — the Feast Day of Saint Lucy, patron saint of writers — and I’m surrounded by half-opened boxes of Nutty Bars, Fig Newtons, and “Lemonhead & Friends.” (Should candy have friends? Should we be eating these friends?) Saint Lucy’s Feast Day coincides with the final day of fall classes at the University of Michigan, and, earlier today, my students brought in both clerihews to read and Pringles (Original, plus Sour Cream & Onion) to devour. (Pringles should be eaten in giant stacks, right? How many can you fit into your mouth at once? A dozen? More? From Blake’s “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell”: “You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough.”) Lucy is also the patron saint of the blind, of martyrs, and of throat infections. Make of those intersections what you will.

John Donne wrote a bracing poem about this darkest (or close to darkest, as we now know) day. “A Nocturnal upon St. Lucy’s Day” begins,

‘Tis the year’s midnight, and it is the day’s,
Lucy’s, who scarce seven hours herself unmasks;
The sun is spent, and now his flasks
Send forth light squibs, no constant rays;
The world’s whole sap is sunk;
The general balm th’ hydroptic earth hath drunk,
Whither, as to the bed’s feet, life is shrunk,
Dead and interr’d; yet all these seem to laugh,
Compar’d with me, who am their epitaph.

But it’s 2010, not 1627, and I’ll take laughter where I can find it — even from things “Dead and interr’d.” Here’s something from Nietzsche: “And we should consider every day lost in which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh.” So, go dance under the cold moon; go laugh amidst the junipers shagged with ice. Eat a Nutty Bar. And then write about it. It’s the Feast Day of Saint Lucy! Attend, attend . . .