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Give Me Lights

Occasionally while in the car I play CD Roulette, pulling something at blind random out of the multi-case and playing it.  This morning on my way down to visit a friend, the CD that came up was Styx’s “Cornerstone.”  And the first song that came up was “Lights.”

Instantly, I was transported back to when I was barely into double digits, because this was the song we used in our teen service, many many (many) years ago, singing it as we walked into the synagogue.  The lyrics – not just the lyrics but the timing – are embedded in my brain and the moment the music started, despite not having heard it for years (decades?) I was able to sing along without missing a word.

(Those of you who know me know that this is no small miracle.  I can barely remember my own phone number)

Slow down, you’re moving too fast
You seem afraid it won’t last
Take my advice, go straight and settle down
Thank you for caring, but tonight the lights will take me where I long to be
Just like a thousand nights before
I can’t explain, it gives me something

The song’s about performing, about not being wanting to “slow down,” but instead living for the moment they’re up on the stage, where the lights invigorate them. But for us, the lights were metaphorical, and the sing became about being called to do the hard thing because it’s the good thing, rather than sitting back and letting other people do the work, or risking the work not getting done at all.  About how that work rewards the worker, even when it also costs us. As such, it seemed remarkably apt for our service. 

(And I loved the look on peoples’ faces when I told them we’d been ‘allowed’ to create a Sabbath service entirely based around (admittedly soft) rock music.)

And yeah, after we practiced it so many times, the original meaning of the song faded, until I had to actually look at the lyrics to remember, oh yeah, that’s what it was originally about.

Looking back, I find myself wondering how much that song helped shape me, and my sense of what is needful, and what is required of me.  Or did I reshape the song around what I had been taught to believe? Most likely, the two met somewhere in the middle, where nature and nurture slam into each other and produce a human being.

Thank you, CD roulette, for reminding me that not only can I do this, but that the work itself is part of the reward.

Tonight the lights will take me where I long to be…

And the beautiful cherry on the top of this moment was the fact that the song came up, totally at random, on the first night of Hannukah, a holiday about standing up and fighting for what you need to survive (and thrive), where the symbol of that survival are… yep, lights.

Give me the lights, precious lights
Give me lights
Give me my hope, give me my energy
You can turn the wrong into right…

(Lyrics © Wixen Music Publishing)


Thursday, November 5th, 2020

Keeping an eye on the Politico scoreboard, mainly out of historical habit, I guess. Trump and Biden are both at 49.4% in Georgia. Yes, we have Stacey Abrams to thank for much of this, but I’d like to think that John Lewis is kicking some conscience-ass, too.

.7% difference between them in Pennsylvania. Yes, point-seven.
.9% difference in Nevada.

Biden has fifteen (15) routes to victory. Trump has only one.

Actually, he has two. The second one involves pulling off an overt coup (rather than relying on voter suppression and disenfranchising). I’m less worried about that now, though. I suspect even some people who voted for him would not stand for that, where they would convince themselves to “overlook” the covert coup he attempted. And I’m pretty damn sure right now the military would not go along, and he needs the military (yes, he has the police, but the police, as dangerous as they are to civilians, are not going to stand up against the actual Armed Forces).

It’s not going to be pretty, and in fact I expect it to be ugly AF between now and January, but there is a light at the end of a very dark tunnel.And then we go to work putting the Senate in check, and dragging Joe and Kamala further along the Progressive track. And fixing our own damn states while we’re at it.

This is the work. Like all work, it will be made lighter by many hands. So if you thought this election would be an end to me giving you shit about getting active and involved…nope.


It feels odd, in the middle of *makes helpless gesture at America* all this to be talking about new books, but it’s maybe also exactly when we need to talk about new books? Or, in this case, the return of an older book. And one with unexpected relevance to current* days.

Because BRING IT ON, book #3 in the Retrievers series, is now available for pre-order from B&N, Kobo, and Apple!**


Wren Valere’s job used to be simple: get hired to steal something, steal it, get paid.  But when she takes on a job she shouldn’t have, she finds herself once again in the cross-hairs of the Mage Council – and their aim is getting better.  Meanwhile, tensions between human Talents and the non-human residents of the city are escalating, putting one of her dearest friends in danger.Her job, her people, and her city are at risk. And now, rather than her usual invisibility, everyone’s looking at Wren to do something…

Available in print and digital June 16th, 2020


*pun not intended but not apologized for, either.
**Amazon demanded proof that I held the rights to this book, and then went silent when given said proof, so they’ll join the party…eventually.


Today, the Author’s Revised Edition of CURSE THE DARK hits the stores.  Mostly.

I say mostly, because due to probably unavoidably delays everywhere, the print edition isn’t ready yet (and will take longer to ship once ordered), and B&N hasn’t gotten the digital edition loaded, although it’s available at All Amazons, Kobo, and Apple.

But it’s out there, the updated and slightly revised second adventure of Wren Valere and her partner Sergei Didier, the demon P.B. (short for Polar Bear), Tree-Taller, and a cast of weird.

It’s weird, launching this edition today.  In this book, Wren and Sergei are sent to Italy to Retrieve a missing magical manuscript.  I wrote those scenes from memories of my own trips to Italy, memories that seem very far away today, as borders close and travel is cancelled in an attempt to flatten the curve of this pandemic.  And the plot – to stop something that is killing people who get too close?  To bring people together to combat fear and hate?  I could have written this book yesterday, “torn from the headlines,” as it were.

Unnerving, and yet also hopeful.  Because Wren and Sergei and the others don’t shy away from what needs to be done, and yes, they triumph, if not without losses.  As Sergei’s fortune cookie tells him, “if you must curse the dark, remember it is only fallen light.”  And a light that has fallen can be picked up again.

So say we all.

Enjoy, and stay safe!


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