Back in the Pacific Northwest from the NW (Louisiana)

Two weeks ago I returned from a visit in northwest Louisiana. Besides seeing family and friends, one of the primary reasons I wanted to touch the iron-rich red soil and feel the 90-degree warmth of the place was to reconnect to the locale, the setting of Light Fixtures. Though the Young Adult book is a novel, the setting is very real indeed. Yet, would I still feel that singular sense that it was the right choice for the book?

I do a yoga exercise every day before breakfast and jog after that. One morning I decided to retrace the mania-quick steps Aurora would take through the hay pasture to arrive at the far fence that separated her grandparents’ land from the Crawford woods. Of course, beyond that wire fence, with the help of Mr. Dragonfly, she’d go to visit the sage Mr. Hematite; both of the mystical beings would aid Aurora in finding who she really was, a girl with teen bipolar disorder.

As I ran, and at one point, walked, because the thigh-high weeds were more prominent than the grass, scenes from Light Fixtures greeted me: the oil wells with the grasshopper-looking heads, the fishing pond on the hill (the back pond was too overgrown for me to be able to stand at its banks) and, finally, the thick woods encircled by now a very dilapidated wire fence that held her mystical friends.

It was here I stopped, and with my back against a loblolly pine trunk, I sat still, listening to the soft wind and feeling the already-humid heat of the day. Aurora was still here. I could visualize her and the words I used to describe her bipolar mania and ensuing depression. Yet through it all, I understood how the land here kept her rooted with a promise that the pastures, ponds, and hills were there to help with keeping her balanced. I knew then the Chalybeate Springs setting was indeed the perfect setting for Light Fixtures and I jogged back to my sister’s house with no regrets.

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