The Literary Introvert: Finding Light in the Darkest of Places

This week has been cold. And snowy. And windy. Okay, let’s face it; this week has been downright abysmal. We’ve had a total of over five inches of snow, and temperatures (WITHOUT accounting for wind-chill) have fallen below zero. Frostburg’s heating systems are struggling to keep up any sort of livable temperature. This kind of weather always makes me feel pretty tired and lethargic, but luckily sloth is no excuse for not reading.

I finished the book that I was listening to on Audible earlier in the week, so I curled up with “Despereaux” for company in the last few days. I cannot express how much this book shaped my childhood. I would carry it around for comfort, so I am so glad that my reading challenge overlapped with this crappy weather so that I may find warmth between its pages once again. There is quite a lot of focus on light in the tale, and as I was finishing the book, I could not help but remember that famous Dumbledore quote: “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, when one only remembers to turn on the light.”

The uncharacteristically human mouse is sent to the inescapably dark dungeon that is infested with rats, the mortal enemies of the mice. Many mice that had broken the Mouse Code before him had been sent to the same dungeon where they immediately gave up hope. But the smallest mouse, Despereaux, was fueled so incredibly by his search for beauty, whether it be a princess, stained glass, or quiet music, that his only desire was to return to the light. The small mouse fought his way back to the glittering light of the upper floors of the castle in order to save his beloved princess from a treacherous rat’s plan.

We are not in an inescapable dungeon. Yes, the clouds obscure the sun, and the ridiculously unsympathetic weather may make our dorm walls feel like the cold stone floors of a cell. We are not small mice, and we do not have to fight to see light. It may feel as though we are condemned to this frigid mountain town, but we still have light. We can make our own light.
You can find light in the friends that are keeping you company through this storm. You can find light in the electric blanket you should definitely invest in. You can find light in good food or good music, and, of course, you can find light in a fantastic book.

I finished my February book slightly ahead of schedule because I have not only read it before, but it is a short novel intended for children. This just gives me a head-start on my next book! The next category I am undertaking is a book that I have been meaning to read: “A Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood. I have begun reading this book many times, but I am always interrupted. This book is regarded as one of the most brilliant feminist dystopian literature novels of all time, and those are two of my favorite things. I am very excited for the motivation to finally finish this book.

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