This has been one of my favorite poems for many, many years. Even at the time I read it, way back in high school, I was overwhelmed with all of the things I was trying to fit into my life. How I wish I could tell that Beth not to worry. There were far more thrilling but complicated responsibilities yet to come!
“My candle:” The candle is your spirit, that life within you that has to do with your love, your feelings, and your thoughts. All the things that make you you regardless of your physical condition. It is the light burning in your eyes.
“Burns:” The burning is your energy, that drive inside that gives you the power and desire to make things happen. Somedays the job takes it all. Somedays the family takes it all. Somedays there is plenty to go around. Somedays there’s not quite enough.
“At both ends:” My candle, like most of us, needs more than two sides. When Edna wrote this poem she must have been single with no children and no other job besides writing. Job burns one end. Writing burns the other. Family burns the third. Everything else has to take a number.
“It gives a lovely light:” So much going on makes for a wonderful, full life. It’s a little hard on the body and mind, but it is so worth it.
“It will not last the night:” A person only has so much to give, and you can only burn brightly for so long before you need to refuel the candle. Thus my collapse at 9pm last night that resulted in my being dead to the world until 7am. Fully clothed, ironing undone, dirty dinner dishes in the sink. (Husband did dirty dishes, by the way.)
The writing end of my candle has turning into a raging inferno. My husband, God bless his soul, has thrown himself behind my writing career 1000%. He has hired his marketing guy, the very talented Ken Zierler of Eyedeaz, to create my brand and marketing materials so that I can sell more books. Selling more books is the only path to my ultimate goal: being a professional, full-time writer for the rest of my life. That career includes getting out in the world and showing people why I write romance and why romance in general is worth their time. I want people to feel better after they read my stories. The world is a beautiful place, and it is filled with goodness and love and hope if you can just stop for a while–maybe the amount of time it takes to read a romance novel–and think on it for a bit.
Nothing worth having comes without sacrifice and hard work, whether it’s a good marriage, great kids, or a late in life writing career. So with great joy, but much exhaustion, I devote myself to the media center and students of my elementary school from 7-3:30 Monday-Friday and to writing/publishing/marketing Monday-Friday 4-7 and Saturday and Sundays at least 4 hours a day, more if possible. Family, the third end of my candle, always takes priority when they ask, but I’m afraid they get the short end of the stick (or candle) if they are cruising along without significant need.
My multi-sided Candle.
It gives a lovely light indeed. Will it last the night? Maybe, maybe not. But either way it’s going to be a great ride.