I awoke this morning to NPR’s Scott Simon offering a scream—and saying that one of four versions of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” sold for $120 million on Wednesday in a Sotheby’s auction. He then went onto report something else that gets people screaming: the fact tonight is a supermoon. There are people who fear it, thanks to cosmophobia, apprehension of the cosmos.
A supermoon occurs when the moon is closest to the Earth and the moon is full. The moon has an elliptical orbit around our planet, so there are times when it’s closer. For those of us who love such things, the moon’s perigee (the opposite of an apogee) matches our rapt, you see. According to NASA’s Science News, “The full moon of May 5-6, 2012, is as much as 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than other full moons of 2012.” According to my Moon app on my iPhone, the moon is 221,991 miles from us today. I scream in delight.
Such full moons happen to touch me in a special way. It reminds me of a once-per-century occurrence of a supermoon at the winter solstice when the earth is at its perigee with the sun. We’re in an ellipital orbit, too, with the sun, and the sun is slightly brighter then. If that occurs when the moon is closest and brightest to us, then we have the brightest moon of the century. That last happened on December 22, 1999. It’s what made me title my novel of 2006 The Brightest Moon of the Century. It remains a book close to my heart.
In the comic and compassionate coming-of-age novel, a young Minnesotan, Edward, is blessed with an abundance of "experience"--first when his mother dies and next when his father, an encyclopedia salesman, shoehorns Edward into a private boys school where he's tortured and groomed. He needs a place in the universe, but he wants an understanding of women. It covers over thirty years of his life in a similar way that John Irving enfolds a lot of ground.
Also when I hear of a supermoon, it makes we want to remind people of my novel. It’s a special story. I feel a bit like Steve Jobs touting Apple or filmmaker Robert Altman, director of such films as MASH and Gosford Park, who said, “I’m always shocked when I finish a film and show it and they don’t make me king of the world.” I wish my books to find their audiences the way Altman nonetheless did. I’ll find out in a few more supermoons.
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