Be the Light. Defeat the Dark

It’s that time of year when the publishing world really starts buzzing with Best Books of the Year lists and speculation about the big awards. I was going to blog about this today–what it’s like to be making a list, or to see friends and associates winning awards and gathering buzz as the major awards draw near.

But really, after last week, it feels so inconsequential. And I realize how much in life is fragile, and how easily the dark overtakes the light.

And this is the darkest time of the year.

candleSo instead, I want to do what little I can. To offer a little light. While each little light may not be much, added together they can outweigh the dark.

If there is one place in the world I have encountered the light, it is in the company of writers. It is in the glorious pages of their books, but even more, it is in their hearts, their humor, their kindness. I want to share each little flame of light that has come to me in this community–each a brilliant candle to drive away the dark.

blueberry pieTamara Smith, who spent fifty dollars to overnight mail a homemade pie full of fresh blueberries for my birthday, which she knew was falling 10 days after my father’s death. Did I mention that Tam lives in Vermont, and I’m in Colorado?

Jean Reidy, whose Light Up the Library auction raised $8,500 for libraries and literacy in Uganda

Ellie McDoodle, the creation of Ruth McNally Barshaw.

Ruth McNally Barshaw, who upon hearing of a young fan constrained to a back brace for scoliosis, drew the child into one of her Ellie McDoodle books.

People from the Kansas SCBWI who came up with An Abundance of Ukuleles for Mike Jung when he lost his (Note: An Abundance of Ukuleles is Mike’s next book title. I’m sure John Green won’t mind.)

Kate Messner, with help from Joanne Levy, who organized KidLit Cares Superstorm Sandy Relief Effort, which raised $60,038 for the American Red Cross.

Erin Murphy and all the people of her agency who banded together to start a fund for agency members in need, starting with the members left for days without power by Sandy.

Deborah Underwood, who sensed the chocolate bars in the grocery store wanted to be sent to me, so she bought them and sent them. I don’t know exactly how they knew I was struggling emotionally, but they did.

ErinMurphysDogAll the amateur performers (and a couple pros) who came together to form the mock band “Erin Murphy’s Dog” and then managed to actually put together an awesome performance.

All the members of the audience that night, whose love made that performance awesome.

The EMUs Debuters, who behind the scenes of this blog offer each other all the emotional support and talk therapy needed at awkward, “I’ve got to know but am afraid to ask” debut moments.

Lynda Mullaly Hunt, who founded Book Train to give new books to foster kids, who have so little of their own.

The light, my friends, is stronger than the dark, if we have the faith to let it be. That is why this week, the darkest of the year, I invite you all to offer up (in the comments) the moments and friends that have lit your life.

Light a candle.candle

Be a light.

Defeat the dark.



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18 responses to “Be the Light. Defeat the Dark

  1. Jeannie, you are truly a candle, shining so very bright. This was lovely.


  2. literaryfriendships

    What a beautiful post, Jeannie. Bravo!!!


  3. This is exquisite, Jeannie. Thank you.


  4. Joshua McCune

    Beautiful, Jeannie. Thank you.


  5. Thanks for sharing all these sources of light. My fifth child was born this year, and I’m thankful to have five precious little ones lighting up life each day.


  6. annbedichek

    Just a wonderful post. And such beautiful actions. Thank you!


  7. Mike Jung

    When a writer friend who’s been battling cancer was at a low point, YA author Cindy Pon pulled together a collective gift for her from a group of author friends.

    The way the EMLA community has come together in support of Missy Neal and in remembrance of Gwen McIntyre has moved me more profoundly than I can say.

    Arthur Levine and Cheryl Klein worked with the Make-a-Wish Foundation to bring teenage cancer patient Stephanie Trimberger’s dream of becoming an author come true.

    It’s hard to overstate the beauty and meaning of these actions and their like. You give me hope, Jeannie. Thank you so much.


  8. Thanks, Jeannie. I needed this today.


  9. What a lovely and much-needed post, Jeannie. Here are a few lights that spring to mind:

    Every goofy late-night FB conversation I’ve had, usually involving some combination of you, Jenny Z, Kari, and Mike.

    A not-particularly-close friend immediately offering to drive me to a medical test I was scared about.

    Erin offering to trade rooms with me in the hotel when I had a noisy one and a speech to give the next day.

    A cartoonist I’ve never met doing a custom cartoon for me when I told him my boyfriend was a fan and had a birthday coming up.

    The friend of my mom’s who emails on Mom’s birthday each year to let me know I’m not the only one missing her.

    And so many others. Thanks for the opportunity to think about these today.


  10. Jeannie Mobley, who quietly, behind the scenes, instigates little communities that become big communities–and who stuck with her writing through tough years and now delights me with her success!


  11. Jeannie Mobley. You are most definitely a light in this world. You are a light to the people that know your intelligence, your caring, and your sense of humor. And your light will shine brighter and brighter as children discover your wonderful writing. Thank you for this–I really needed it today.


  12. Jeannie. You are the light that knows just how to inspire, cajole, set ablaze all the other lights. xxoo


  13. Jeannie – Thank you for this beautiful post. You are a gift, dear friend.


  14. Pingback: 2+2 Never Equals Five, but Adverbs are Okay | EMU's Debuts

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