Coley and I are hosting a Lumen Night party tonight.
Lumen Night is a midwinter holiday I once invented for a story. It’s a night of companionship, lights, food & drink, and music in the dead zone of late February, when winter’s worn everybody out, spring is still a ways off, and the traditional holidays (St Valentine’s and St. Patrick’s) are underwhelming.
I recently learned about Danish hygge, a spirit of gloom-fighting coziness and connection. Firelight is important. Friends and loved-ones are essential. That’s how I always envisioned Lumen Night — as an evening of rejuvenating warmth, or as a glow against the physical and emotional dark.
So we’re having a few dozen guests tonight. We’ve deployed dozens of candles around the house. I’ve got a ten-hour playlist ready on Spotify. We have food and booze. It’s going to be good.
This year the weather is bizarrely warm and vernal; we hit 70F the last two days. But we’re expecting a cold front, with rain and maybe thunder, right when the party begins, so we’ll have a proper gloomy evening to ebulliently defy.
I wrote a thing about an album I love and I got carried away, and instead of posting it here I submitted it to a publication I love, called The Morning News, thinking maybe they’d like to publish it there.
So I have nothing to share tonight, except to say that I’m feeling better than I was earlier in this low-self-esteem week, and that I was saved by my wife, and good friends, and my novel-in-progress, and a 1,500-word thing I wrote about a cherished album that is probably uncool but nevertheless saved my uncool life.
Masking and withdrawing are easy and have immediate benefits, which is why I sometimes choose them, even though they’re morbid acts that rot me from the inside.
What if life naturally feels a little shadowy, sad, and wrong-footed most of the time?
That seems obvious when I type it. But here I am (and I’ll bet you’re the same) often feeling like a failure because life doesn’t always feel bright and beautifully balanced.
What if I embraced dissatisfaction, doubt, loneliness, etc., as natural qualities of life, and not necessarily as results of my own shortcomings? What if I accepted the negatives as a normal, permanent dusk?
I might begin to see the occasional lights — fulfillment, belief, connections with others — not as inadequate rarities, but as wonderful anomalies. I might even view some of them as successes.
Good days would feel fantastic. The other days would simply feel normal (shadowy, sad, and wrong-footed) instead of feeling like good days I’d managed to fuck up.