Writers Need Light … the Candleman cometh …
January 25, 2009 § 4 Comments
(pictured: some of the candle bounty)
Last Sunday the kitchen morphed into candleshop as HM set out his molds, his candle containers, his craft cloths, pots, thermometer, wicks, colors and tiny bottled scent elixirs. Some were gifts from his adoring crowd of candlelovers, some were bits he’s collected from past workshop afternoons.
Every votive holder (glass, ceramic, and milky glass, very retro) was set out, ready to be re-poured with a new candle.
“What is your trick,” he asked, “to getting each of these clean?”
There’s always a bit of wax in the bottom and on the sides as well as the metal tab that grounds the wick, as well as a bit of soot on the glass if the wick went awry in its last minutes of burning the last candle it held.
“I, well, it’s a bit of a process,” I said.
“Hmmm… I guess they will be fine just like they are then,” he said, sorting them by size and shape on the counter where, the next day, he would be pouring wax into them.
“I’ll do it.” I am the Candleman’s Whyffe.
I turned up my sleeves, all the while itching to get to work on a piece that sat waiting on my open laptop. I boiled water, got out the textured scrubbers and a butter knife, and set to work, softening the glut in each holder, scraping at the wax with the butter knife, and scrubbing to get the bits, smears and any soot off the little walls. I laid out a favorite kitchen towel and turned each holder upside down on it to dry. I worked through dozens of them and had them all ready for the Event.
And untraditionally on candlemaking day, he called in an assistant – my mom! (She moved here to St Louis in December.) I ceremoniously set out an apron for her.
HM sent her an email invitation to spend the afternoon chez nous, setting wicks, trimming them, gently poking tiny holes at angles after the wax was poured and had set, removing the big ones from their molds and arranging them all. They chatted and chattered away. He asked her counsel on colors and scents as they went along through three hours of candlemaking. She was, of course, a quick study and delighted to sit on the artisan stool at the working counter with him.
There were snacks and conversation, discussions on the properties of wax, there was tea and coffee drinking (and I think some egg nog went south, too, the kind that comes with excellent Kentucky bourbon already mixed in it) and there were ideas for dinner. (We all ended up going out together later that evening.)
Meanwhile, Snarl and I (he was home still on break from school) talked about Writing at the table, only feet from their steamy, toiling pot, multi-scented candlemaking extravaganza.
We were both at work on our laptops, Snarl commenting on my lifestyle articles and quizzing me about AP style, and me reading his ledes and article perspectives – he’s a newsman.
If ever the electricity should go out and dump all that silence on us and all the pots should cease to boil and our laptops, after herculean efforts should use up their batteries and go black-screened, well, we will still have paper and pens with which to write and a multitude of candles to light against the dark.