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  • Writer's pictureDenise Tolan

The Daily Dick: Musing in a Time of Angst

The Try-Works:

"Look not too long in the face of the fire, O man! Never dream with thy hand on the helm! Turn not thy back to the compass; accept the first hint of the hitching tiller; believe not the artificial fire, when its redness makes all things look ghastly. To-morrow, in the natural sun, the skies will be bright; those who glared like devils in the forking flames, the morn will show in far other, at least gentler, relief; the glorious, golden, glad sun, the only true lamp—all others but liars!"



Ishmael is on the midnight watch when he dozes off and finds himself turned around on the helm. He remembers how terrifying his fellow crew members looked as the fire from the try-works cast flames toward their faces in the dark.

I love the beauty of these lines. In the middle of the night, things can look evil, frightening, nightmarish. But in the morning light, the “true lamp,” the sun, will reveal truth.

This sounds a lot like the creative process as well.



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