THE HOLIDAY GLARE

HAVE you ever felt slightly perplexed by the holiday glare this time of year? Fun, tempting, colorful, joyful … and … a tad bit overdone, perhaps? I’m not sure I noticed this much until I marched through several holiday seasons without the son I’d buried in June of 2007. Maybe I was sleepwalking through life until then, or at least somewhat. With the release (print), eBook formats forthcoming, of my memoir, THE SILENCE OF MORNING: A Memoir of Time Undone, I sat down and read the book again. With a release … authors tend to celebrate, worry, and question their work anew.

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Will readers find the deeper meaning in the book?
Will readers find themselves, the universal message, in the 350 pages that took some 7.5 years to develop into a publishable work?
Will the “me” that started that book … in any way resemble the “me” that finished the book?
Will the story be clear and meaningful, effectively pointing to deeper truths within the vast mystery of life?

  • Most of all, did I answer the central question that drove me to write the book?
  • “When I began writing this book I wondered what was left to say, to do, after a sudden death. When everyone had returned to schedules, routines, and responsibilities that were insistently framed by calendars and clocks, not by the stirring passion of grief—and I felt alone like never before. Is that where the conversation ends, I’d wondered.” —The Silence of Morning: A Memoir of Time Undone

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After reading the book again this week, I felt that I had come to terms with that huge question (like a massive blank wall) — the one we all must face after a profound loss. But all of you who read it will be the best judge of that. It’s difficult to  be objective about our own work and life experience, isn’t it? And such a question is never truly answered once and for all, because we are continually evolving … new depths are plumbed, new insights come to light, we grow … we change.

And, realistically, many may not be able to articulate that massive, burning question after loss. Instead, it may hover in the air like an annoying fly or mosquito, before we decide to acknowledge its burning presence within us. Before we turn within long enough to realize the maze-like question MUST be answered … eventually. It holds our feet to the fire until we do … and while the holidays are upon us, many have other things on their mind. Big questions like this. Stories of time undone, for instance.

What led to unexpected tragedy? How did society and culture impact my son’s life, and mine? What are the deeper reasons our world seems determined to produce addictive patterns that flow from a multitude of external sources? Why is this trying issue seemingly intrinsic to the human condition? 

Wading into seem deep waters with my memoir, in other words. For anyone weary of surface chatter, I hope this book is a small gift to each and every one of you. We need alternatives to the nightly news. We need new ways at looking at habitual patterns of human behavior. We may even need a spiritual nudge — a catalyst we can’t ignore.

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  • I remember how the holiday glare got to me one December … in the aftermath of sudden loss from my son’s suicide during a major relapse from drug addiction.
  • Here is the poem I wrote that year … it was originally called “Red Yarn.”

UNDER THE GLARE

Tucked in stockings of red yarn … gifts appear,
as under the proud evergreen with its lights,
tinsel, tempting ornaments of gold.

A whirlwind season, a rush of old against new,
a collision of family and friends, turned wistfully
towards the sparkle, the dazzle, of glistening snow.

Yet, reflecting on expectations of greeting cards,
gifts, cookies and more, I wonder how to make
the experience unique, new again somehow, or
at least more meaningful.

A sizable challenge, but offering the potential
to transform my sagging holiday spirit into the
perfect storm: a blissful state of creative
confusion, lingering sighs against treasured
moments of peace.

A sage at work drumming up holiday lore,
or maybe a mere poet, unsteady under the
glare of twisted strands of holiday lights —
too bright, blinking at speeds unknown.

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So, now, as I mull over every sentence, every thought, shared in my memoir … wondering what others may glean from the story that is memorable … I am also humbled by the poignancy of the moment.

An unexpected rush of emotions that returned when I read the last page of the book. The slight reluctance to let go of my story. Even though my son wasn’t a saint by conventional measures …

everything he experienced is a reflection of the human struggle to somehow right itself against the rocky waves of time. So, I have to wonder, how are we all doing?

A key question posed on the back cover of the memoir is a good one to keep in mind this time of year … or any time for that matter. Despite it all, how do we deepen our perspective … committing to sustained personal growth? Maybe this question can also guide us into 2016.

Do you have thoughts on this? I’d love to know your suggestions, because this “deepening of perspective” is the key, I sense, to many aspects of life.

Released December 3, 2015.
Now on AMAZON (print copy), eBook formats forthcoming along with general availability on other bookstore sites, i.e., Barnes & Noble.

PLEASE enjoy a safe season, and don’t let the holiday glare distract you from a timeless, inner peace that knows no boundaries, calendars, or contingencies. Wishing you all good cheer and the incredible warmth of connection. ~ dh

  • Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see you again soon (December 20th), as I continue to focus on memoir — the genre, the path, the point of it all. I’ll also keep you updated on my memoir … reviews, availability, and so on.
  • If you read THE SILENCE OF MORNING, please let me know if it offered something helpful and meaningful and, hopefully, memorable.
  • And most of all, best wishes for the winter season. May you find inspiration, joy, and peace in the coming days!

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  • When we value the journey itself, new realities are revealed amidst the old.  –dh
    Always Returning: The Wisdom of Place is about digging into our surroundings to unearth an organic, timeless wisdom. If you’re looking for inspiration or want to lean more about a landscape, a place, that helped me to unearth my spiritual roots, this may be a book you’ll enjoy. We are much wiser than we imagine; it’s just a matter of tapping into what we already know. ~ d.a. hickman, 2014
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