When Your Fire Becomes A Pilot Light

Description: Photo of a small blue flame tinged with yellow wisps situated against a dark background.

Description: Photo of a small blue flame tinged with yellow wisps situated against a dark background.

I’m here. Like a tiny flame refusing to go out. It’s never that I don’t want to blaze, dancing and vibrant, teasing out shadows in shades of blue, it’s just that energy conservation can become essential to survival. When the days turn into tests of will instead of opportunities for dreaming? It’s time to bow out for a while. It is unwise to keep going when breath is in short supply.

I understand this is not good for building consistency in the grab-it-fast world of Making A Name For Yourself, but I figured out several years ago that you can push your body and mind right into an emergency by ignoring your own warning signs in favor of keeping pace with the goings-on of this planet.

It’s not a well kept secret that these goings-on stop for nobody and we have to initiate the pauses ourselves before our spirits give way. If one even has the power to initiate. This year the pauses have found me through a relentless pain dogging my every literal step.

I have not been able to create as much as I’d like. (Sad poetry falcon emoji!) I have found it daunting to contribute in a public space where my energy is compromised by internalizing feedback. So you haven’t seen much of me for the sake of a healthier and more grounded me. This is a reality I’ve chosen even in the midst of longing to be present, to contribute, to expand or challenge our ways of thinking. I do have some questions to consider. Ready?

The first goes along the lines of “if a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it, does it make a sound?” Is our art worthy of support if it doesn’t garner financial or social currency? If the answer is no, then why? If the answer is yes, is it ideologically yes or actual yes? Or at least, how are we building toward actual yes?

Second question: Is it art if it’s yet unmade but in the works because someone is so desperately trying to find their way back to health in order to create again? The potential will surely take on form and figure if given the fuel, but do we believe in the potential? Are bodies more important than bodies of work? Again, not ideologically but in practice? How about your own body? Why is it commonly accepted that to skip meals and sleep to finish projects is laudable because we now have an object to consume? What was the long term cost?

So my challenge, whether or not I continue this blog (because it’s such a many-faceted costly endeavor) is to look for the pilot lights among you. What kind of “fuel” might they need to get into their creative space? It might be as simple as “I care about what you have to say. Please keep going.” It might be asking for their wish list. Maybe it’s a hot meal or gift card. Maybe it’s Patreon. (Oh, if you’re thinking of making one of those, get on it soon! I did, or at least launched the process. The free part is going away. This is your public service announcement, beloveds.)

Don’t worry, I will continue to share poetry on Instagram regardless of the fate of my Squarespace subscription. There will be a place to find my words and wonderings, my tears and tea obsessions. I’m still figuring it all out. My heart greets yours and welcomes you to the journey of the unsteady, of the flame that has not quite gone out. In the end, we are all our best poems and homeward songs. Go lovingly,


Jamie Bagley