Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fazed By The Moon

Last week, a white, shining moon appeared every night, and often in the afternoon as well. I've never seen a moon as purely white. It had an allure that drew me outside over and over again in the evenings, simply to look, to be with it, to try to memorize it. Its edges blurred; my eyes kept attempting to find a border, but finally had to adjust to a shimmering. My bed has a window by it that showed the moon through the black fall branches. I watched it move as if it were a movie--an Andy Warhol movie.

Meanwhile I was working up to rewriting a story I'd let sit for several months. Waiting for a key to how to move it forward. The story contains a moon--an enormous orange moon that heightens the sense of mystery in a fall night.

Usually when I read a story by a student, I can see the clues they have dropped for themselves as to what they really care about. Often the real story hasn't made it to the page yet--it has merely sent forward its scouts. It is easier to spot the clues of others than my own--it can take a long time to locate the central metaphor/its meaning. A big moon, yes, but why? What's the deep connection with story I wrote? How does it reflect something important to me?

The answer came when I was making the bed--oh, moon again, in the form of a bedspread. There it was--the shape of the story moving through its phases. This is pretty much how it happens; I try to make sense of what I've done, and then suddenly I find a logic, which isn't the same thing. The metaphor becomes dynamic, rather than puzzling.

I considered changing the moon to white, in gratitude for the additional pressure it provided, but that wasn't called for. It wants to be orange.

A moon appears orange when it is low in the sky and there are more the usual particles of atmospheric matter between it and the earth. In the fall, at Harvest time, a lot of matter is stirred up, and therefore this huge orange moon is called the Harvest Moon. Good to know, but not my metaphor.


  1. Love this piece.

    When my husband (then-boyfriend), James, and I took our first vacation together we drove up to Rhode Island. We had no money, and I was upset that we couldn't stay at one of those "cottages." We ended up at some motel-which, ultimately, was very romantic anyway, because that's where we were in the relationship.

    When we were driving around one night, the Harvest Moon was absolutely breathtaking and huge. I took a couple of pictures with my cheapo camera, and we couldn't wait to get the shots back. When I picked up the prints, I was hysterical as this mystical, mammoth orange orb looked like the effing tip of a cigarette in the shots.

  2. Hmmm--now there's a metaphor for besotted love.