Light and writing – part one – Inspiration

Let there be light. Why? Because without it nearly all life on this planet would cease to exist. It heats, illuminates, nourishes and gives life. It also inspires works of art. As a writer, I can use light in many forms, natural, supernatural and artificial to enhance my narrative. As a photographer, well, I wouldn’t be able to take photographs without it.

In this series about light, I will be dealing with the many forms it takes. From the glowing backsides of fireflies to the many ways human beings have found to illuminate the darkness.

Nature is amazing. We humans are, for the most part, in awe of it and have been ever since we crawled out of the primal ooze. Nothing stirs the soul quite so much as a beautiful sunset, a sunrise, a mass of twinkling stars, or the constant glow of the moon.

purple sunsetThe sun gives us light and warmth, stars make us wonder about far off worlds, the moon illuminates our darkness with its wide-eyed face looking down on us like a distant mother watching her children. No wonder creative minds have used light as inspiration.

super moon

Many writers have used light to express happiness, love, hope, expectation and joy. Just listen to some songs, the word ‘light’ comes up quite often. ‘Light my fire‘ The Doors. ‘You lIght up My Life’ Debbie Boone. ‘Ray of Light’ Madonna. ‘Shadows and Light‘ Joni Mitchel, to name but a few. The same is true of literature: ‘Northern Lights‘ PhillipPullman. ‘The Light that Failed’ Rudjard Kipling. ‘Where the Light Last and other stories‘ Agatha Christie.

In my short story Glimmer, the protagonist, a young man resisting the drugs he is given to keep him ‘sane’, retreats into his own world and listens  for the voices that come from the stars.

The world will not end because I close my eyes. The sun will still shine, so too the stars. Yet the darkness behind my drooped lids tells me otherwise. I see a macrocosm made up of swirling silhouettes and geometric shapes that aren’t strange to me at all. This is where I live now, in x-ray blackness. There is peace in this non-colour.”

glimmer front red 2

Watch out for Part two in the series: Religion and Light.

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Choosing a Book Cover Image

After deciding to self-publish my collection of short stories, and rejecting the cover I wanted to use (because of copyright laws) I thought it best to use one of my own photographs. Instead of the collection being called Rousseau’s Suburban Jungle after a story in the anthology, I chose to name it Glimmer, after another tale.

This word conjured up all sorts of ideas of light and twinkling images and I spent many days rifling through my photographic collection until I saw a few pictures that I felt would be appropriate. I then narrowed it down to two.


I preferred the last one and after fiddling around for ages, chose a different photograph! Well, not so different actually. I then played around with colour:



Although I really liked the blue version, I felt that the red would have more impact. A graphic designer friend very kindly offered to format the layout and graphics for me:

glimmer front cover2

And after a few tweaks, the final result:

glimmer-Cover full 2

I really liked it and the book was launched on 1-1-14.

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