Word Prompt: Solemn | Story Prompt: from the book “Island” by Aldous Huxley

Write It Out: Instruction Video

“‘It’s dark because you’re trying too hard,’ said Susila. ‘Dark because you want it to be light. Remember what you used to tell me when I was a little girl. “Lightly, child, lightly. You’ve got to learn to do everything lightly. Think lightly, act lightly, feel lightly. Yes, feel lightly, even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.” I was so preposterously serious in those days, such a humourless little prig. Lightly, lightly – it was the best advice ever given me. Well, now I’m going to say the same thing to you, Lakshmi … Lightly, my darling, lightly. Even when it comes to dying. Nothing ponderous, or portentous, or emphatic. No rhetoric, no tremolos, no self-conscious persona putting on its celebrated imitation of Christ or Goethe or Little Nell. And of course, no theology, no metaphysics. Just the fact of dying and the fact of the Clear Light. So throw away all your baggage and go forward. There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet, trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair. That’s why you must walk so lightly. Lightly, my darling. On tiptoes; and no luggage, not even a sponge-bag. completely unencumbered.'”

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Excerpt from Pop! – MEC 2018

Julius left the streetcar, thankful that the power had stayed on long enough to deliver him this close to his family. He quickened his step as he pushed against the driving wind and rain, flying newspapers and wet leaves blowing past. Rain is much better, he thought, than tiny snowflakes that prickle like sharp shards of glass, or heavy snowflakes that splat in fat, frozen water pockets on my face. Weather like that he’d never seen in India. The wind eased a little as he turned off the main street onto the tree-lined road leading to his home. He squinted through the rain to see his building in the distance, hulking in the dimness of the late afternoon storm, and confirmed that power was out there, too. Checking his phone again, he saw there was still no response to the last text he’d sent to his wife before leaving the office, to find if there was anything she or the baby needed. Dierdre’s post-partum depression was bad, exhausting them both. He hoped they’d be sleeping.

He keyed in the combination to the building’s front door, thanking the gods for backup batteries, and pushed hard at the heavy wooden entry door which blew open much more easily than usual. He jumped inside and threw his weight behind the door to close it again. There was not much light in the hallway as he secured the front door, checked for any snail mail – none, as usual – and took the dark and heavily carpeted staircase up to their second-floor apartment. His keys jingled as he readied them in his hand, flicking them on their ring around his thumb, remembering when he’d identify the sound of his own father’s arrival that way.

As he opened the front door and dropped his keys into a basket, a soft glow of light and a sweet scent greeted him. Surprised, he closed the door quietly behind him, pried off his wet shoes and peeled out of his soggy windbreaker.

“Beloved,” he called softly from the entryway, “Everything okay?”

“Yes, we’re just in here,” she called back from the living room, her voice low.

He padded down the hall in his damp socks, and stopped in the living room entrance. Dierdre had made a nest on the floor of a thick, cotton quilt and other blankets, surrounded by pillows from their bed. Tiny Gabrielle lay on the quilt, sleeping quietly, and Deirdre was resting behind her. Candles were lit, beeswax pillar candles in glass, giving a soft glow to the room as well as the sweet honey smell he’d noticed at the entry.

His heart popped in his chest. In spite of her tired countenance, Dierdre was the most relaxed he’d seen her since Gabrielle was born. Her dark hair was piled in a messy heap on her head and loose tendrils drifted down, framing her beautiful face. He was speechless. He moved onto hands and knees to join his family on the floor in the dimness and quiet, grateful for this unexpected respite.

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Are you finding any calm in the midst of chaos? Do you find it when you least expect to? Is it elusive? Share your thoughts below!

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