Josna Rege

237. Turning Towards the Light

In 1980s, 2010s, Inter/Transnational, Media, Music, Nature, seasons, Stories, United States, Work on December 21, 2013 at 4:59 pm
© Whetstone Press

© Whetstone Press

For seven years, between 1980 and 1986, Whetstone Press, which started out as a letterpress printing partnership run by Andrew (master printer), Eve (graphic designer), and me (Jack of all trades), designed, printed, and sent out a Winter Solstice card to all our friends and customers. After a while the demand was such that we sold packs of them through a little catalogue we mailed out to our list. There are many people who don’t subscribe to any one organized religion but would nonetheless like to mark the season in some other way than through an insipid Hallmark Happy Holidays card.

Two decades on, although one can find the odd solstice card in certain limited markets, I still feel that ours struck a perfect balance, avoiding cloying sentiment and religiosity while celebrating fellowship and light.  Pictured here are the first and the last solstice cards we made. The first was based on photographs of frost that Eve and I found in Harvard’s Widener Library, after which Eve created color separations and the sun and Andrew printed them in sea-green and gold. The last, when Andrew and I were still new parents, was designed and printed entirely by Eve, based on It Don’t Make Sense, a song by the late great blues musician Willie Dixon.

Writing on this Winter Solstice as gray fades to black, I wish to stand still for a moment, just as we imagine the sun does on this day, and give thanks to the light. Although for friends in the Southern Hemisphere today of course is the Summer Solstice, it is equally a pivot point when we can pause, look inward with the inner eye to our still, quiet center, direct our gaze outward beyond our little selves to the great, mysterious, ever-unfolding story, and be filled with awe.

Of the nearly-four years of stories on Tell Me Another, several have reflected upon this time of year. I list and link to them below for newer readers, with apologies to those of you who have seen them before. Wishing you all a Happy Solstice!

70. Party Pieces

85. St. Nicholas’ Day

86. Bottled Sunshine

131. Across the Miles

132. My Muddle

133. So Many Things Have Disappeared

152. No Swaddling, Please!

166. In the Bleak Midwinter

69.  At the Gates of Dawn

Frost  (© Whetstone Press)

Frost (© Whetstone Press)

Tell Me Another (Contents to Date)

Chronological Table of Contents

  1. Love the cards Josna. Refreshingly different. Happy Winter Solstice to you and yours.


  2. Happy Solstice to you too. Fascinating account of the cards you printed.


    • Thank you, bottleworder. I hadn’t written much about our press before–many more stories there waiting to be told. I’m visiting my son in NYC at the moment, and it seems that letterpress is enjoying a big comeback; there are racks and racks of letterpress-printed cards in the bookstores.


  3. for josna, and whoever likes it, at the year’s turn.

    beholden to change
    of season: winds, tempers and years
    we are anxious, or grateful some things do pass
    always middling
    being claimed, and claiming
    we hold on to ourselves, to love, to care, to
    images of life
    and insist we are here
    missing presence
    cherishing words.


    • Thank you for this lovely poem, Sabine–yours? I love the way “beholden” works in it. For me, not only that we have to acknowledge that we are all subject to change, but also that we owe it something, or as you put it so well, that it has a claim on us. And that we hold on to a false idea of solidity, even in our profession as wordsmiths. I keep reading it again and seeing more and more in it. Love, J


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