Burnt Ends


Hey there Bear Feeders.  Thought I forgot about you, didn’t ya?  Didn’t ya.  Yeah, well, tell me about it.  It’s been over three weeks since my last post.  There were stretches in the past when I went that long between posts before, but I can usually point to those periods as ‘non-blogworthy’ periods.  Or more bluntly, periods when my world was filled with challenges that I didn’t want to share here.  This past stretch doesn’t fit into that category.  In fact, it’s possibly the opposite.  I spent a week in Florida, part of it for a vacation, and part for a conference.  I did take a tour of the Kennedy Center (which there will be a post on that, it’s nearly finished, but it can wait now).  Since coming back, I’ve run around LA county, took a beer tour, and about jumped completely into a new judging experience similar to what I do in the fall.  My writing work is loaded hard with trying to learn how to edit, which isn’t as easy as it might sound.  That while digging my way through a full work schedule that amped up in it’s crazy.

In fact, my life has slowed so little that I am writing this installment in a hotel in Las Vegas.  Not a casino, mind you, there will be no shenanigans while I am here.  I drove over four hours to get here, and after a day of judging tomorrow, I make the same drive Sunday.  It’s just a small window of time to kill before a busy rest of the weekend.

Essentially what I am saying is that my hobbies are ramped up and keeping me going every minute I am not at work.

Essentially what you could say is that I am burning the candle at both ends.

I wouldn’t say that, actually.  It’s not that I am denying that I am running hard right now, more like the phrase ‘burning the candle at both ends’ means something different to me.  The term is pulled from a poem written by Edna St. Vincent Millay.  Called Figs for Thistles: First Fig, in full it reads:

My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—
It gives a lovely light!

I’m no poetry expert or literary know-it-all, but in its full form, this poem tells a different story.  We say “burning the candle at both ends” when things wear us down and you know you have to change.  This poem seems to say the opposite.  She knows the candle will not last the night, she knows she is being run into the ground, burning until it can not burn anymore.  Yet in the second half, it turns to be the loveliness of the light and notes that her friends and foes are aware.  Sometimes when I read this, I think she wants her light to burn so bright because her friends and foes are in awe of its loveliness.  That means to me that she doesn’t want the light to be any dimmer, as then she would lose the love of her friends, or lose the respect of her foes.  Sometimes when I read this as if she selfishly telling those others that she needs that loveliness.

Either way, when I read this poem, it tells me that the poet is accepting her fate.  That the candle burns, and will burn.  She knows that it cannot continue, but will let it go to its end.  That isn’t someone complaining about their situation, they are embracing it.  It is fruitless, yet as long as that light burns lovely she lets it happen.

I … on the other hand … do not accept that my light will not last the night.  My years of running myself in the ground nows that there are limits, and there are controls I can put into place.  Some days, yes the candle burns on both ends, but there are times when I know I need to make choices on what I do to keep my own sanity.  Like for instance, I choose to spend an evening in Las Vegas sitting in a hotel writing a blog rather than letting ‘what happens in Vegas … etc etc’.  Life, for instance, I had to choose letting you Bear Feeders be patient.

It will get better, and I will get back to your regularly scheduled jackassery.  In the meantime accept that if I don’t post as regularly, I am only doing so to make it through the night and every night.



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