Archive for April, 2019

How Not to be Afraid of the Dark

Posted in Uncategorized on April 3, 2019 by michaelcogdill

Something occurred to me about being a writer, and a shaggy mortal who can worry too much, like the rest of you.

I’ve written a children’s book about losing our way and finding the best of ourselves in tenderness toward the lonesome. I wrote another children’s book about making those we love — and lose — immortal by remembering and loving them well. No matter what.

I’ve written a grown up novel thrashed with family violence, child death, suicide, wretched fundamentalism and, in the end, the restoration that comes from radical love.

There’s darkness in every one of those books.

And only because there is, can a reader catch the light of them.

They draw life from the dark. They remind us a resurrection requires a tomb.

And all this reminds me never to fear writing what makes us human, even the suffering. Perhaps especially the suffering. It reminds me the night is no match for the moon. The sun still shows.

I needed to hear this as a foolish boy afraid of vampires and disembodied hands under the bed. But I’m reminded, too, I have never feared the dark while looking at the heavens.

So I write here to get us all carried away from worry and being afraid. I write to romance the truth that our fear and suffering are but a tin roof tomb, not built to last. It can feel so sturdy, splintered and hard.

But it will fall.

In my profession, I need reminding often. I owe the reminder to all of you who consume news each day.

Journalists report on lost children, lost hope, deep dark. Terrible things happen to humankind each day. Maybe years of anchoring and reporting news inspired me to write three books with a touch of darkness to each. Maybe the light in each one comes from reporting on neighbors helping neighbors through tornadoes, mass shootings, mass grief.

Even right here, I choose to see so much suffering eased by the touch of a loving hand. Such hands are lights all their own. They make the news as well.

Still afraid of the dark?

No judgment. I understand. It’s why I end here with the end. The final line of my novel, She-Rain.

It is a southern tale full of coffins and cuss, lost loves and laughter at hells on earth. It is dark with human suffering, but comes down to Psalm 139. Proof God comes way down, too, knowing right where we are.

“Even the dark isn’t darkness to Thee. The night is bright as the day.”