Friday, July 31, 2009

All lights burning bright?


By Pat Remick

Award-winning Canadian folksinger-songwriter David Francey recently graced a stage in my town and prior to performing each song, he shared the backstory with the audience.

Like many writers, I think I appreciated these tales as much as the songs they generated. I was especially intrigued by the background for “All Lights Burning Bright.” Francey told us it was inspired by his discovery that the same final entry was recorded in the Watch Log Book at the end of each shift on the huge vessels traveling the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway straddling the U.S.-Canadian border:

"All navigation lights burning brightly."

Francey read the logs while sailing on one of the mammoth commercial ships after his wife wangled an invitation for him to spend a week onboard. When he asked a seaman why it was so important to note the status of the navigation lights, he was told it was because of their significance to safe voyages. No matter what else a ship might encounter during the journey– if its navigation lights are burning brightly, other ships can see the vessel and those onboard can see other nearby marine traffic, as well. This is especially critical in bad weather.

The phrase “all navigation lights burning brightly” also can be a metaphor for life, says Francey. I couldn’t agree more. We can choose to go through life with our “lights” on low, moderate, "all burning brightly" or somewhere in between.

What about you – are "All Lights Burning Bright" in your writing? Are you seeing beyond the darkness to what might be on the horizon if you invest more BIC (Butt in Chair) time?

How about outside your writing? Are your lights burning bright enough that others know who you are, what you stand for and what you strive for? What about in your relationships at home, at work and in your community? Do you use your talents, whether it be for writing or something else, to the maximum? Do you sail on, all lights blazing, despite rough seas?

And when your journey finally concludes, will people be able to say that you had “all lights burning bright” to the end? I hope so. I think that would be a wonderful thing.

(If you’d like to read the words to Francey's song, click here and scroll down to the end of the page to find “All Lights Burning Bright.”


5 comments:

Annette said...

Lovely post, Pat. I think I keep my lights burning bright most of the time. Some days it's more of an effort than others!

Joyce Tremel said...

Nice post! I'm sure my lights burn brighter on some days than on others. If I could only find out how to deactivate that dimmer switch...

Gina said...

"All lights burning bright." Is that related to burning the candle at both ends?

Jennie Bentley said...

Great post, Pat. Very thought-provoking. I'm going to go check my bulbs now, make sure I'm as well-lit as I can be.

PatRemick said...

Gina-- I don't think it is a reference to burning the candle at both ends, though it seems like that's something a lot of us do, but rather whether we are pushing ourselves to the max to get the most out of life and survive all those rough seas....
I've just started "Writing the Breakout Novel" -- maybe it's whether we have the breakout life...