Illuminating Darkness

Sooner or later, we all encounter darkness—from illness, failure, loss, or other disheartening turns in our private lives. We also encounter darkness from ominous turns in the public world—an upsurge of violence and prejudice, damage to places we love, betrayal of causes we believe in, threats against community or democracy, assaults on Earth’s creatures and living systems, or other violations of our hopes and affections. Writing can illuminate the darkness; it can show a way forward. A Theodore Roethke poem begins: “In a dark time, the eye begins to see.” In your own dark times, what do you see? What brings relief? What stirs laughter? What offers insight, direction, courage, hope? Bring photos, books, talismans, or anything else that lifts your spirits. We’ll write all week, and share what we’ve written. Fiction, essays, journals—all modes are welcome.

Scott Russell Sanders

From his home in the hardwood hill country of southern Indiana, Scott Russell Sanders puzzles over why our species is degrading the conditions for life on Earth, and how we might be moved to live more wisely. He is the author of twenty books of fiction and nonfiction, including A Conservationist Manifesto, Earth Works: Selected Essays, Divine Animal: A Novel, and Dancing in Dreamtime. Among his honors are the Lannan Literary Award, the John Burroughs Essay Award, the Mark Twain Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2012 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a longtime contributor to Orion, his favorite magazine. A Distinguished Professor Emeritus of English at Indiana University, Sanders is devoted to efforts on behalf of social justice, peacemaking, and protection of the biosphere.

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