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Blinding Light, a Poem

John has many years of writing experience in poetry, short fiction and text for children's books. Basically he just loves to write.

Bright light through columns

Bright light through columns

Blinding Light

At times we all have problems

that we stress about for weeks.

Nowhere that we look or turn

Has the answers that we seek.

We ask our friends opinions

On stuff that we can share,

but for other things more personal

We need to look elsewhere.

For technical or "how-to?" help

We search the Google page,

But problems with our life or love

Require an inner mage.

Sometimes the answer's in our face

But we're too blind to see.

Worry steals our focus

From what is clear reality.

Writers often get a block,

Or their inspiration lacks.

They need something to prod their muse

To get them back on track

This book that I'm reviewing

For my series "Off the Shelf"

Explores that very common theme,

So, please read it for yourself.

The author's take is quite unique,

the hero's choice extreme,

To banish his long writer's block

And regain his self-esteem.

Sometimes we have to take a chance,

Brave the monsters of the night.

But, will you gladly risk it all

To see the blinding light.

Off the Shelf

The book I chose for this edition of Off the Shelf is a novel by New York Times best-selling author Paul Theroux called Blinding Light. In this novel, Theroux explores the problem of severe writer's block in a unique and rather extreme way.

From the back cover:

"Slade Steadman is the ultimate one-book wonder. His lone opus, published twenty years ago, was Trespassing, a cult classic about his travels through dozens of countries, slipping across national frontiers without the benefit of a passport.

With the help of his soon to be ex-girlfriend, Ava, in tow, he sets out for Ecuador's easternmost jungle in search of a rare hallucinogenic drug and what he hopes to be the cure for his writer's block."

The drug, once found, heightens both his powers of perception and his libido, but it also leaves him with an unfortunate side effect: periodic blindness. Unable to resist the insights that enable him to write again,

Will he regain his vision? His inspiration? His fame? Or will he forgo the world of his imagining and his ambition?

This book is an exciting read, especially for fellow writers.

© 2018 John Hansen


John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on December 11, 2018:

Thanks, Li-Jen. I'm not resorting to taking drugs either. It may work for some who are desperate though.

Li-Jen Hew on December 11, 2018:

Hey Jodah, I enjoyed the poem. It's relatable especially the sharing opinions part. Yeah, we have to face the monsters but taking drugs.. don't go to that extent to be creative! That's interesting, never thought of taking drugs to be inspired. Haha.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on December 08, 2018:

Glad you found this Flourish. Yes, that would certainly be scary to be blind even in one eye. It is a fascinating concept for a book about a writer.

FlourishAnyway from USA on December 08, 2018:

For some reason, I'm not getting article notifications so I'm glad I went back and caught this on your profile. This sounds like a fascinating book, and I enjoyed your poem. It provides quite the teaser. Having gone totally blind in one eye for a temporary period of time, I can tell you it's terrifying and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on December 04, 2018:

Thank you for reading Alyssa. Yes that is so true, sometimes we are so busy trying to find an answer that we don’t see the obvious.

Alyssa from Ohio on December 04, 2018:

Your poem hits home. It's amazing how sometimes the answers we are seeking were right in front of us the entire time. :)

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on December 03, 2018:

Hey, Dana, I'm glad you found it. Yes, I think this one is very relevant to many of us writers. We may not resort to such extremes but I can understand if you have had one best selling book you may do almost anything to repeat that success.

Dana Tate from LOS ANGELES on December 03, 2018:

I almost missed this one. Seems like a great read especially for writers who often find themselves having writers block.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on December 02, 2018:

Thank you for reading this John. Isn't it amazing how you seem to be directed to the answer you need at just the right time? The Lord certainly does work in mysterious ways. I am glad this was helpful to you, both the poem and info on the book. Blessings.

Faith-Hope-Love on December 01, 2018:

Just what i needed, John, at this moment in time. Both the Poem and information on Book; (Blinding Light.) I give you a 10 + for wisdom and advice at just the right moment. My head has been blocked Legal Social and Religious theories over this last couple+ of months. I was trying to dump the chaff. Your Poem and Advice on The "Blinding Light" book helped a lot. Thank you.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on December 01, 2018:

Ah Sean, there is wisdom all around us, we just have to know where to look. Your inner self for one. I am blessed to know you too. Thank you for generous comment. Blessings.

Ioannis Arvanitis from Greece, Almyros on December 01, 2018:

This is the wisdom I told you for, as a response to your comment in my last Hub, my brother! This is why I am blessed to know you. Thank you for that great poem.

"But, will you gladly risk it all

To see the blinding light."

Blessings to your Luminous Heart!


John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 30, 2018:

Thank you Rasma. I am glad you enjoyed the poem and the song. I appreciate you reading this.

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on November 30, 2018:

A fantastic write and does bring me closer to the light. Love that song.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 30, 2018:

Manatita, I have never partaken of hallucinogens either, but many artists, singers, and writers have...as does the one in the book. Thank you for enjoying the poem.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 30, 2018:

Thank you Carolyn. I appreciate your kind comment and to hear that this poem touched you and I am on your "follow" list makes me happy.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 30, 2018:

Yes, Mark, it's always been one of my favourite songs even though I didn't really understand it. I have the album The Roaring Silence where it features. I hope my poem helps.

PoetikalyAnointed on November 30, 2018:

You welcome, John.

I guess I got a hoot out of the line because I wish that I "knew" my ex was soon-to-be waaaaay before he was. But I know we go through our trials and tribulations for a reason...

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 30, 2018:

Hello, Linda. Yes, I did make this one a little different as far as the introduction and also that the theme of the poem follows that of the book instead of just using the title. I do hope you get the book and enjoy it.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 30, 2018:

Thank you PoetikalyAnointed. Glad you enjoyed this, especially the "soon-to-be-ex" lol.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 30, 2018:

Kim, I am so glad my words resonate with you. Thank you for reading and blessings to you.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 30, 2018:

Wow, Eric...like a psalm. I can't wish for more than that. Yes, you mention some excellent writers there. Hemmingway inspired a lot, but you are right it probably all stems from the likes of Homer. Thank you for such a generous comment.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 30, 2018:

Thanks for reading, Whonu. Blessings.

manatita44 from london on November 30, 2018:

Yes, sounds very interesting. I know it's a book but the path of hallucinogenics I have not followed. I've not been inclined this way, but you make the story sounds well worth reading.

The poem is wonderfully charming and flows well. Peace.

Carolyn Fields from South Dakota, USA on November 30, 2018:

I am very selective about the poetry I read, and you are definitely on my "follow " list. Thank you for this. It touched me. I may have to buy the book.

Mark Tulin from Palm Springs, California on November 30, 2018:

Love that song by the way. Really brings me back. Maybe now, with the help of your poem, I can understand it a little better. Thanks, John.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on November 30, 2018:

John, at first I did not recognize this as one of your off the shelf articles. Your intro was different and piqued my curiosity. I had not heard of this book, but I'm definitely putting it on my winter reading list. It's become much too cold for gardening. The fireplace and a warm kitty beckon me to sit and read for a spell.

My Muse has been fickle. I hope this read stirs her. Thanks for a great article.

PoetikalyAnointed on November 30, 2018:

You nailed this, my friend! The writer's block theme surely hits home for us writers. Loved the rhymes, illustrations and flow of your piece.

The book sounds like a cool read.."his soon-to-be-ex" Lol! That right there had me..

ocfireflies on November 30, 2018:


Gosh! How I can relate. I often suffer from light blinding. As usual, your poem and recommendation are right on the mark. Thanks for seeming to know just the right words.

Blessings Always,


Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on November 30, 2018:

Castaneda, Kerouac, Leary, Hunter Thompson, Edward Abbey, Pirsig . I love their stuff. I will get this one to read. Seems that in a sense they all come from Hemingway. Or maybe the Iliad and the Odyssey ;-)

When you write this type of poetry it becomes like a Psalm/Song to me. So easy to read that you forget that you are reading rather than off into the land of John.


whonunuwho from United States on November 30, 2018:

Well done and a great message, my friend. I really enjoyed this poem. Blessings. whonu

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 30, 2018:

Haha, Bill. I know it isn't something you ever suffer from. thanks for reading.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on November 30, 2018:

Fascinating premise for a book....love you take on it....writer's block? What is that? lol

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 30, 2018:

Well, Shauna. this "Off the Shelf" series is serving me well in that regard. When I am stuck for an idea I look through my bookshelf and there is usually a title I can work with. Apart from that, I write about the writer's block itself.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on November 30, 2018:

John, writing about writers block seems to have dismantled yours. Your creativity flows even when you think your muse has forsaken you. That's an art, my friend. Tell me your secret. How do you overcome lack of inspiration?

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 30, 2018:

Thanks Clive

Clive Williams from Jamaica on November 30, 2018:

Cleverly done Jodah.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 30, 2018:

Thank you, Hari. Yes, it sure can.

Hari Prasad S from Bangalore on November 30, 2018:

Writers block iteself can lead to a poetry. Like the rhyme and also the introduction to the books. Thanks. Jodah.

- hari

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 30, 2018:

Yes, Rinita, you are right. Thanks for noticing the difference. I was going to mention that somewhere but I hoped readers would notice without me having to. This novel really lent itself to me using its theme. You are the first to comment once again :)

Rinita Sen on November 30, 2018:

A bit different from your usual off-the-shelf poems. You usually just borrow the title but the content has no relevance to the book, but here you gave a brief overview. It is an excellent change. Oh, and I confess I had to look up "mage". This was another of your wonderful "poetry that speaks directly to the reader".

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