Gloria Wickman’s story “Chasing the Light” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 25 May 2018.
I wrote “Chasing the Light,” somewhat differently from my typical process. Usually I tend to heavily outline and focus on plot and characters before anything else. But this time I focused much more on the emotional beats and tone of the story and then the plot developed from those feelings.
There were two main sources of inspiration for the story. The first was an image in my head of the light coming down onto a dark and dead field and reviving it. This became the foundation of the final scene of the story, though the addition of the people cheering and shouting in relief is also a reflection of what I witnessed during the total solar eclipse in my hometown last August. It was a truly unique experience to stand outside in my backyard and just hear everyone in the city cheering together for the same event. It was a moment unlike anything else I’ve experienced and came with a profound sense of community and shared human experience.
The second source of inspiration was a line from the song “Sea” by BTS. “Where there is hope, there are trials.” The ending of the story needed to have feelings of both relief and euphoria, but I wanted the scenes before that to examine hope and how it exists alongside darkness and despair.
There’s an old cliché that it’s always darkest before the dawn, but for me this story is about the hope that another dawn will come. Markus does his best to help bring it, both by constructing a new flyer and by caring for the people around him. However, the final outcome is out of his hands by a certain measure, because hope exists alongside powerlessness.
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