The daylight report

One February many years ago, a CBC North host I knew, Barry Mercer, made a point of announcing sunrise, sunset and the amount of daylight on every day of the month, along with how many extra minutes of daylight we’d had that day over yesterday. He called it the Daylight Report, or something similar.

I thought it was a brilliant idea. February is very hard in a continental climate. (The first Europeans who came here called it “second winter”. By March first there are daffodils and crocuses in England, and nary a flake of snow to be seen.) The dark days around midwinter can be difficult to get through even if you don’t have Seasonal Affective Depression.

We had just short of ten hours of daylight yesterday, February 4th, although I don’t recall the exact times of sunrise and sunset. David and I once figured out how may extra minutes of sunlight you get each day between midwinter and midsummer and sorted it out to something like four minutes, if I recall correctly. That means an extra hour of daylight every two weeks, which is heartening.

It’s longer days in the writing world, too, or at least it’s starting to seem brighter. I have a small grant which eases things considerably in the financial department, and I’ve started the second book of the Swan Harp trilogy. Still looking for a title, but nemmind. I have the page numbers done, as Steven Wright says, and that has to count for something. Having the novel in the hands of someone in the publishing industry is good, and I wait in hope to see what she will say. Sandra McKee at the Thessalon Library ordered the Canadian Writers’ Market, and I’ll be going through it this week with an eye to agents and publishers.

The comments I get here – especially the ones that confirm that what I’m writing is helpful, and not just a self-indulgent whinge – also hearten me. I started this blog in the hope that my own experiences would serve either as a good example or as a horrible warning to other writers or would-be writers. I’ve found that writing about the whole experience is also helpful to me, and can let me sort out what I’m thinking, or what I need to do. It’s a little like shrieking for help and then suddenly finding the answer. Sometimes the mere fact of talking to another person brings things bubbling to the surface. (I find this happens a lot when I’m having a technical problem with a computer, too. There’s something about simply having someone else looking on while you say, “See, when I do this it doesn’t…oh, look, it did it. It didn’t do it a minute ago. Um.”)

Ten hours of daylight yesterday, eleven hours in another two weeks. Equinox in six, whether that fat-rumped groundhog saw his shadow or not, and then it’s all downhill to summer solstice. By which time I hope to have the first draft half done. I’ll keep you posted.

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2 Responses to The daylight report

  1. Funny, I keep telling the daylight, “Slow down! Slow down!” because I have winter gardening chores still undone.

    Ah well, the mulch is collected, and just like the page numbers, that ought to count for something.

  2. lucinda kempe says:

    Yuh. I, too, relish the return of the light. From late Nov to Feb, I get in a funk, but now’s it’s beginning to break. Yes, soon, we’ll be digging in the sludge of spring. And this one is special since we buried our beautiful Comus right smack in the middle of our garden. She’ll need a stone with her name. Thanks for reminding me, E. Of the writing news and of the returning light!

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