Learning in the Dark

(Originally hand-written on July 1)

I notice how I grope in the dark, flipping on and off light switches in spite of the fact that my electricity’s been down for over two days.

I need to know about sea anemones. At this very minute. A scene in my fantasy novel calls for my mermaid to swim among such sea plants while a storm is about to blow.

How do anemones react in churning water? Do they wave their jelly-like arms or do they close into themselves until seas become calm? Is a “bed” of anemones the appropriate term to describe them?

My personal library has quite a few books on sea life. I’ve scanned some, read some, post-noted many pages, written out facts on index cards and in notebooks.

But it is oh-so-easy to click an Internet search engine and type in “sea anemones” and look at the results. It’s always right at my fingertips.

But now I am in the dark.

I depleted my laptop battery juices last night. During daylight, I edit my novel using pencil and a paper copy of the book I had run off a few weeks ago when I gave three copies out to readers for the final critique.

Good, old-fashioned planning and foreshadowing.

Computer technology and all its accompaniments display the genius of the twenty-first century. Nevertheless, to keep all that technology humming, I continue to require the creative invention of the 1800s by Thomas Alva Edison–electricity.

And thank goodness for something even older than Edison–fire.

Lately, lighting candles has taken on more dimensions than romance and ambience.