Little Lanterns of Hope

I’ve always loved Chinese lanterns. Maybe it was because we had one hanging up in my childhood home. Or the fact that I did a school presentation on their use in the traditional Mid-Autumn Festival. There’s something beautiful about a row of lanterns displayed together:

Maybe I just like their vivid colors or the lights contained inside them. Lanterns always seem so cheerful.

I once got to launch lanterns into the night sky in Taiwan. You can write messages and wishes on the sides of the lantern before letting them float away. Honestly, I can’t remember what I wrote that time. I do recall painting a happy face on one side, though.

To me, what lanterns most symbolize is hope. They remind me that there can be sudden light in pitch darkness. This has happened multiple times in my writing journey.

First, when I was starting out as a writer, unsure I could publish anything…and then managed to get my flash fiction into a magazine. Or when I grew despondent over landing an agent…but did—after I got offered a book deal. Recently, when my series got cancelled (okay, technically, it’s on hold), I wasn’t sure what to do. Thankfully, I ended up with a new book deal.

Even with this past launch of Death By Bubble Tea, when I checked my numbers through my author portal, my heart sank. Were people even buying my book? I could already imagine the downward trajectory of my writing career. (Note to self: please check the system about a week after release when the numbers are more definitive). Imagine my surprise when I got a Google alert about making the SoCal Indie Bestseller List. It was on there for two weeks in a row!

I’m so grateful for these little radiant bursts of hope. They keep me writing and pushing forward.

Where do you go to find hope?     

33 thoughts on “Little Lanterns of Hope

  1. I love the lanterns, Jennifer! Results may darken our day but hope shines eternal. Those rays come from so many sources. All we have to do is look (aka lift up your eyes). Mine comes from ten two-letter words: if it is to be, it is up to me. Oh, and K.I.S.S. (keep it super simple).

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Chinese lanterns are so beautiful, Jen. Thanks for sharing. One time, I was at an event to raise funds to fight cancer and they released lanterns into the sky. What a powerful moment.
    I find hope in little things like the fact that I woke up this morning, it’s Friday, and Maria let me sleep most of the night undisturbed. When you live with depression, some times hope can be hard to find, so small victories can be the key to keep going.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Aww, Fleur. I love the posts you make about fan letters from kids–they’re beautiful. The industry may be fickle, but congrats on all the attention and awards for your books. Also, cheers for your upcoming book, Daybreak on Raven Island.

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  3. I love the lanterns too, Jen! Any major city I visit, if they have a Chinatown section, it’s a must-visit. The lanterns and decorations are often breathtaking! That’s not even touching the food!

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  4. For me, hope comes from within. Something external, like a Chinese lantern, may summon it, but if I’m not ready to receive it, it just won’t come. It’s when times are darkest and I am most lonely, convinced that I’m writing nothing but dreck and that I’ll never be taken seriously as an author, that I have to look deep inside for what I know to be true. I am talented and my writing is good–it’s my acceptance of those facts that helps me to excel. The quality of my work is directly proportional to my feelings about myself.
    BTW, have I mentioned that my book Killers! is a finalist for a Silver Falchion award at Killer Nashville, and the first 50 pages of my WIP, Sister!, is a finalist for their Claymore award. Talk about hope!

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  5. I love that analogy, Jen, and I’ve gotta agree … those lanterns are lovely. Almost like your floating lanterns, I often find myself “offering it up.” To who or what, I’m not sure, but it’s a reminder that I have no control over so many things and that knowing I’ve done my best or planned for all contingencies allows me to feel comfortable that everything will work out just fine. It always has before, right?

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  6. I love the colors. My writing motto and teaching of writing has always been, “Write with joy and finish with finesse.” Your lanterns surely are a symbol of joy. I think writing groups and we individual writers need to launch those lanterns both at the beginning and at the end of our writing projects. There should also be a big annual, national holiday for writers and we’ll all launch lanterns with our joys and hopes written inside.

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  7. Love the lanterns, Jen! I’ve been fascinated with paper lanterns since I first visited China Town in LA as a kid. And then later when I saw the luminarios in Santa Fe at Christmas time–beautiful!

    I think I most find hope in the nature around me: the revival of life at springtime, the reseeding of flowers, the excitement in my dog’s eyes every single day when she greets me in the morning. Thanks for the lovely post, my dear!

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Those lanterns are beautiful! Now I want some. Congratulations on making the SoCal list, Jen – two weeks in a row. When I feel low about my career – questionable sales, lack of support from publishers – there’s one thing that gives me hope: writing. When I start writing anything – a new book, a blog post – my spirits perk up and give me hope that past isn’t present or future.

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  9. Considering I just got some bad news at work (coworker moving to a different department so more work coming my way), this is the reminder I need to start looking for the light in the situation. Thank you.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. What a beautiful post, Jen! I have never seen lanterns released but have always wanted to do so. I bought some paper lantern lights for my office, but they are nowhere near as pretty as these.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Aw, so lovely, Jen!

    I find hope in every sunrise. I always feel as though the reds and pinks have washed away (most of? some of?) the previous day’s challenges. I try to catch the sunrise every morning–but I think I can only give myself half-credit for success!

    Congrats on SoCal Indie Bestseller List! That is awesome!!!


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