Quick write: How light, snow can make a moment


Our lives are filled with images — some seemingly pointless; others poignant. One picture that I have carried with me through the years is the image of a lamp’s light burning on a cold and snowy night.


(Flickr: Randen Pederson)

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I was just a child at the time, but I can recall looking out my bedroom window on Christmas Eve and watching as snow fell and blanketed the ground. The only thing to illuminate this quiet scene was the street lamp that shimmered gold in the distance.

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I committed the picture to memory for its beauty, but also because I felt I was witnessing something special as the world slept. Time had paused long enough to allow me to create a snapshot of it as I sat poised on the brink of morning, anticipating gifts under the tree and a future I could only vaguely imagine.

The beauty of the lamp lighting the snow stayed with me and has resurfaced now and again, particularly every year around Christmas Eve. As my family sleeps, I look out my window and mark another moment where I stop to take in the scene.

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Years later, when I first read C.S. Lewis’ “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” I was fascinated to find a similar picture when Lucy happens upon a glowing lamppost in a snowy wood. How was it possible to find this same beautiful vision immortalized in a beloved children’s novel? It spoke to me, of course.

What snapshots have stayed with you since childhood? What role have they played in your life and in your writing? How have they shaped your view of the world and of yourself?

What would happen if you incorporated this image or the meaning of it in your current writing project? Or perhaps there is one persistent vision that carries through your novel or all of your work.

Describe that image today and reflect on its meaning. Feeling brave? Share your writing in the comments section below.

Kerri S. Mabee is managing editor at and founder of Breeze Media & Communications. Learn more about her at


Kerri S. Mabee

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