Twelfth Light Rebranded

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I’m approaching my first birthday here on WordPress. It’s time I get a bit real here, especially since I’ve been absent since June.

Last November, I was in a different place mentally. At that point, I hadn’t been in a grad class for over a year and when I’m not studying, I feel very discontent. Moreover, I was facing some incredibly trying personal situations and I thought that blogging would be a wonderful distraction. So, as most 30-year-olds are wont to do, I started a blog.

Initially, my focus was interior decorating and DIY projects. That was fine. But about six months into posting, I began to feel an overwhelming sense of in-authenticity. This dread first settled in as I stood in front of a dilapidated Ferris wheel in the middle of a junkyard after road-tripping to Centralia, PA to walk the Graffiti Highway. As I photographed the wheel from the side of the road, it seemed like an incredible metaphor to me. My thought was interrupted by an old man who was mowing the tall grass in front of a trailer at the edge of the property. He killed the engine and I asked him about the wheel, pointing out to it in the distance. He said it was part of a traveling fair and, for whatever reason, the company stopped paying their rent on the land many years ago, abandoning all their trailers and rides; they just left them there to rot away. And then, out of nowhere, the man introduced himself by saying, “My name is Jim. Tomorrow is my 91st birthday.” I looked from 90-year-old Jim to the half-wheel and wondered, as most people do from time-to-time, what am I doing with my life?

If you don’t know, I earned my Master’s in English in 2013 (P.S. I barely graduated high school–but that’s a story for another time). So, I imagined my favorite professors reading my blog and shaking their heads, perhaps wondering how I went from studying the Greek hetaera and writing my hybrid genre memoir to sharing a step-by-step guide on how to make a wreath. To be fair: I’m sure they would all be supportive of my endeavors regardless of “scholarly” merit. The truth is, writing is hard work. I’m not trying to discredit home design or DIY blogs; I will still be an avid reader of those sources because I will always be redecorating and crafting as a hobby. What unites all bloggers, regardless of content, is the universal, nerve-wracking feeling before hitting that “Publish” button. What I’m trying to say is, after re-reading some of my posts I found myself missing my former rhetoric–the voice I spent years developing as a graduate student. I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. I enjoyed being creative, I met so many new people through the blogosphere (shout out to my Mitten girls!), and I loved inspiring others to try new projects themselves. But, I’ve been neglecting my true voice for so long, and I need to get back to that work. I imagined my voice as that Ferris wheel, rotting in a field–abandoned. (P.S.S. I tend to be a bit dramatic).

This notion to reinvent Twelfth Light became even more imperative to me after I was offered the opportunity to transfer teaching positions. I spent the first eight years of my career teaching seventh and eighth graders in a middle school.  In late August, two weeks before the first day of school, I was offered a high school English position within my same district. Yes, I’m a high school English teacher (I love saying that!). This transition has reinvigorated my passion for teaching and reminds me why I went into this profession in the first place. And, one of the best practices for an English teacher is to write with/for your students. I hope to connect with my students through this outlet and encourage them to find their voices (whatever they may be for them at this moment in their lives). To that end, Twelfth Light needs to catch up with me.

So, I will be transitioning this blog into a place for my prose and poetry, literary research, and perhaps a sprinkling of student work or teaching epiphanies here and there. We’ll see where she goes. If you’re already a follower, I do sincerely hope you’ll stay with me and if you’re a new reader, I invite you to follow along.

I often sign my posts with “Keep the quill moving,” so I better start taking my own advice!


Post Script:
“Write! And your self-seeking text will know itself better than flesh and blood.” -Cixous, The Laugh of the Medusa


The Hoover-Mason Trestle

The Hoover-Mason Trestle, the newest attraction to the Bethlehem Steel site, opened to the public on Thursday, June 25, 2015. For anyone who might say, “been there, done that” about seeing the stacks–I must argue with you–because you’ve never seen them like this.

The original Hoover-Mason Trestle (HMT) was originally used to transport raw materials (such as iron ore and coke) to the blast furnaces.  Today, however, the new HMT is now a pedestrian walkway that gives visitors incredible views of not only the stacks themselves, but even surrounding Bethlehem. “The [46 foot high, half-mile] walkway features benches, landscaping and a self-guided tour with plaques describing how steel was made and the significance of some of the large buildings still standing”(Radzievich). Standing on the trestle is so humbling and breathtaking. I’ve been there twice since the opening, and both times I noticed something surreal–complete strangers introduced themselves to one another and began sharing stories/memories of the stacks or asking questions. People wanted to know: Can you imagine how loud it must have been? Did the stacks glow? Were women working here?  We all seemed to stand transfixed, expressing our amazement. There seemed to be a magnetism drawing everyone together up there.

Cost: Free
Sunday-Wednesday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Thursday-Saturday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Three staircases and one elevator with ramps along the walkway
Special Tours: $15
Steelwalker tours along the HMT, led by former workers, will be held on July 11 & 18 and August 1 & 29 (11:00 a.m.)

These are the images I captured with my Nikon D3200. I must thank my friend and colleague, Mark, who encouraged me to shoot in manual for the first time. I still have a great deal of learning to do, but I was thrilled to learn more about this new hobby. Please check out some of his incredible HDR shots from the day (one of which won the #MyImpressionContest award from the Philadelphia Museum of Art!!).

This statue at the entrance is called “Romeo and Juliet”
The Grand Staircase

Hours and rules
Hours and Rules


SS12 SS13
I’m especially proud of these next few images since Mark taught me the term for this type of shot: bokeh (bow-ke),
a Japanese word meaning the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in the out-of-focus parts of an image produced by a lens.




Post Script:
“I almost went down in fire. If it wouldn’t have been for my buddy standing right in back of me, he caught me. Otherwise I would have bought it, sure thing.” -Frank Furry (a coke and ore dumper)