“Light Therapy” of Spring Break Proportions

Sunny Day in Whidbey Island. Ocean View. Photo by Cecilia Kennedy

The “Spring Break, Do Not Enter” sign is on the home office door, along with a Hawaiian lei for special effect—because I have a sun lamp. I’m hoping this lamp will be powerful enough to project an in-your-face “beachy sun,” which is extremely rare in the Pacific Northwest this time of year. Sometimes, I spend up to eight hours a day in my home office, with the curtains drawn, and by the time I’m done, I’ve written nearly 80,000 words of nonsense about vampires climbing the walls in search of spicy rice cracker mix, which is my kryptonite. (I go through a pound in less than an hour. I am weak and powerless against spicy rice cracker mix, so the vampires I create will be “true to life” in that respect.) In any case, when I review my draft and read all of the wacky dark things these vampires do, I hit “delete” and cry out,

“It’s happening again, Nate! It’s happening! I keep writing horror stories! Probably because it’s so dark in here all of the time!”

“Open the curtains!” he shouts back.

And, I could. I could open the curtains, but I won’t—for two very good reasons:

1) Typically the sun is not shining, so opening the curtains won’t help.

2) Sometimes I just have to get up and dance and if the curtains are open, that’s the exact time when the Neighborhood Facebook Administrators will walk by and film my sweet, sweet moves and post them to the Neighborhood Facebook page with these kinds of comments: “It looks like the neighbor on ______street is at it again. We get it: You like to dance! But you’re not very good at it! Stop! Just stop!”

“Spring Break, Do Not Enter” sign on the home office door–pink Hawaiian lei hung on the door handle.  Photo by Cecilia Kennedy

So, I have one of those “anti-depressant” light therapy lamps and my expectations are beyond imaginable—as you can imagine.

Set up is easy. I don’t even need instructions. I know what to do with a box, a cord, and a light bulb: Plug. It. In. Then, I throw on a bathing suit, slather myself in sunblock and realize—much too late—that there will be no UV sun exposure—but oh, well, I’m covered and there’s no turning back now. I throw a towel down on the floor, find the Jimmy Buffet Station on Pandora online, and pull some books from the shelves in my office. I also lock the door and shout, “Nate! Alex! If you need me, I’m on spring break. I’ll just come down when I need food. Don’t ask me where we keep the air fryer. I don’t know.”

So, what can I do in my home office on “spring break?” Why, read a line from a trashy novel and then read another line from a self-help book, of course! The books on my shelves range from trashy novels to style books and classic novels in Spanish to self-help books and everything in between. For rip-roaring fun during my spring break, I’ve chosen Joann Ross’s Legends Lake and F*ck Feelings by Michael I. Bennett, MD and Sarah Bennett. Here’s a sample—welcome to my world:

“Lost in him, unable to discern whether the soft sighs that drifted into the air were his or hers, Kate sank bonelessly [sic] into the kiss, her mind swimming, her body seeming to float on gentle wavelets of pleasure”—p. 313 of Legends Lake.

Followed by:

“Limit your dating to the kind of person who will make a good, reliable partner, not a fun, hilarious anecdote . . .”—p. 182 of F*ck Feelings.

Spring break is going swimmingly as you can see. Except, the lamp I bought isn’t really a sunning lamp, which is a good thing, actually because I’m not supposed to be recreating any kind of tanning booth scenario in my home office. That would be unprofessional to say the least. Also, it’s just selfish. I can’t just let Nate and Alex fend for themselves with only an air fryer, while I bake away under some kind of tanning light. So, I come to my senses and wrap up my spring break, but I do feel happier. The Happy Light by Verilux, which I bought for around $70 does boost my spirits. It’s designed to mimic the sunlight, which is supposed to improve my energy and help me sleep at night.

But how can I possibly sleep when the vampires are out of spicy rice crackers and there is so much dancing to do? I guess that’s why I have the Happy Light. I can just crank it up until it—or I— burn out.

In other news: “The Fish in the Bowl Grows a Bubble” is a short story I wrote that won Headway Quarterly’s first annual writing contest! It’s published, along with process materials, on Headway Quarterly’s website. The theme was “Mutants and mutations” and the editors said they liked my “absurd” take on the theme. I love absurd things! If you want to read along, here is the link: “The Fish in the Bowl Grows a Bubble.” Cheers!

Your turn: How do you get through the dark days of winter?







32 thoughts on ““Light Therapy” of Spring Break Proportions

  1. Love this entertaining piece! I also have a lightbox, and mine is the Sunsation by Sunbox.com. I think that it helps, but who knows? It seemed like a good idea during the long Michigan winters, and now in Texas, we still have many dark, rainy days intermixed with the occasional sun. Congratulations on your short story win!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I didn’t realize Texas could have long and dark days too. We lived in Ohio before we moved to the Greater Seattle area in 2016 and I thought, “Well, Ohio has lots of gray days too, so I won’t notice.” However, I am just starting to notice, so the lamp has been a good idea so far. Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I used to like some of the dark, stormy days when we lived in Ohio. It seemed like we had lots of dark days there too, but I’m really noticing it here in the Greater Seattle area. It has taken over 2 years for me to finally “notice” it, so I’m hoping the lamp works out. Thanks for the visit:)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hahahah, I can just see you slathered in sun lotion, with a sun hat & glasses in your office with this! That book, F*ck Feelings, sounds like an interesting read, I’ll have to Google that one. And I think Nate & Alex could fend for themselves reasonably well with an air fryer, you can put all sorts of things in there. Better than being left with just a saucepan, they may have sent out a distress call then.

    And huuuuge congrats on the short story winning the contest! I had a look at the Headway Quarterly’s website… love how it says “However, she reserves her “scariest” writing for her DIY blog”. How exciting to be on there, you should be proud! 🙂

    As for the lamp, I’ve never tried one but I have been quite curious about them. I don’t do great in the winter, but a lot of that’s to do with struggling with the cold. Perhaps a sauna with a lamp would be ideal. I do hope it helps you even just a little, we have to do what we can when getting through dark days of winter.  ♥
    Caz xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m a bit weird. I don’t get winter blues, I love the long nights and I’ll take dark days too 😉 I’m bothered by the cold more as I’ve got older though so I do like my warm creature comforts. I’m weird, not stupid 😉 Great post! Got the fishy link bookmarked.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I like the dark days too–but only when it’s really, really cold out, which doesn’t happen too much around here, so it feels kind of strange still. Maybe I’ll get used to it soon. Thanks so much for bookmarking my story–hope you enjoy it! Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I have one of those lamps too, for the darker days. They’re pretty helpful 🙂 Although it hasn’t seen much use this year: We’ve had a pretty bright winter, and although most of the UK is buried in snow and dull weather we’ve somehow missed it!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I live in sunny Arizona, but I shut myself away in my darkened man cave, so I understand how the gloom can get to you. Sometimes I feel the urge to open the shade. But since I’m kind of vampirish (well, I’m pasty and operate at night) and I’m in sunny AZ, that doesn’t last long. Plus there might be a sniper outside and why make things easy for him?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I tend to keep the curtains drawn too–I don’t want people to look at me as I make dinner, dance in the kitchen, write, and run on the treadmill. That’s why I do these things at home and not in a restaurant, coffeehouse, gym, or some crazy nightclub:) Cheers–and thanks for the visit!


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