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Waxing Poetic...

Okay, last time I was nattering on about how I had gotten into making candles. Though, somehow or other, I got side tracked into talking about magic…and curse reversing candles…and weird-assed shit like that.

How such a thing happened, I cannot say. Some mysteries we may not explain. We may only cherish them. Or at least regard them with affectionate indifference. Not unlike the taste in marriage partners of our college roommates.


The ice storm of February 2021...this was when I really needed candles. The "curse reversing" candles, by the way, are the three tall, black and red ones you can see at the bottom of the fireplace hearth.

You’ll recall I had talked about the three “curse reversing candles” I’d gotten, sort of as a joke, in the early Autumn of 2020. One night, when we were eating in the mesh tent-shelter we have out in the backyard, I got a lighter and the three candles and carted ‘em out to the picnic table. There, we fired ‘em up.

At first they burned like any other candle…but, I soon realized they were “under wicked.” I’ll go into “wicking” (under- and over-) later on. For right now, though, I’ll just say that matching your wick with your candle is kind of an art (and one, btw, which I haven’t yet mastered and may never). An “under-wicked” candle is one that has wick that doesn’t burn hot enough to properly melt the wax of the candle.

When lit, a correctly wicked container candle…or so I’m led to believe…will have a pool of liquid wax covering the whole top surface of the candle, and that pool will serve as a fuel source for the flame. Gradually, the pool will work its way toward the bottom of the container, with the flame burning at just the right rate, until finally most or all of the wax is completely consumed.

But, with an under-wicked candle, the wick can’t produce that pool of liquid wax that covers the whole top of the candle. Instead, it can only melt the wax immediately around itself. Thus, the wick “tunnels” into the wax, that is, it creates a hole in the wax, but leaves high walls of wax around the edges of the container.

Which is a problem because what you get is an ever deepening pool of liquid around the wick. The “tunnel” fills with it, I mean. And, finally, the candle puts itself out. The wick drowns in its own wax.

For reasons I flatly don’t understand, it seems that a lot of the candles you buy are, in fact, under-wicked. A column or so back, I wonder if it was safer, and under-wicked candles are less of a fire hazard. But, I honestly don’t know.

Anyway, there I was with my curse reversing candles…

And they kept going out.

Not a good omen.


Finally, I worked out a system where-by I kept a metal container (an old coffee can, actually) on the picnic table. Then, every time a curse-reversing candle would flicker and start to go out, I’d hurriedly pour a chunk of the liquid wax out into the container. The flame would flare up lustily, and for the next fifteen minutes or so, the candle would shine. Then, once again it would dim to insignificance, and I’d have to repeat my drainage operation.

I honestly don’t know how long it went on like that. Several weeks, certainly. I remember I was still doing the light-and-drain right up into 2021. I remember that because we had an ice storm in February of that year, and we had major power-outages, and I was still trying to use the curse reversing candles for light. And I remember cursing the state government, which had undermined and under-managed the power grid for years, while I was pouring hot wax over the sink.

But, anyway, I think I recall that the candles finally finished up toward the beginning of March. Oh, as a point of information, I’m not sure they worked at reversing any curses. Our guy did win in the election of 2020, so maybe that’s a point in the candles’ favor. On the other hand, Covid slackened, but then Covid Delta appeared. And there was Afghanistan. And there was…well, you get the point.

Also, there is the “reversing” part of the curse reversing candles. I’m not sure who might have put curses on us, personally, or on the country. But if they did it, I haven’t seen anybody getting their just desserts for doing so. I’ve not read any articles on the web about people quietly imploding under mysterious circumstances. And none of my personal enemies (I’m looking at you, faculty of a certain University in New England which shall remain nameless but which I would happily see consumed by a giant sink hole and/or mammoth flesh-shredding mutant leeches) have suddenly up and vanished or spontaneously combusted.

And as for national foes…Putin and Xi are still in office. And the Taliban won. And the Orange One…is still orange.

So…I guess…the supernatural part of it remains unrealized. Maybe we need more special effects. I mean, heck, Smaug and the Balrog were CGI. Why not a few candles?


Okay, but there’s the kicker.

If I may or may not still be dealing with a curse, I definitely had a metal coffee can full of spent wax.

So…I wondered….what the heck do I do with that?

Particularly as, if there are such things as curses (which I doubt), and you can get rid of them by burning candles (which I don’t believe), then…maybe…maybe…

You have to burn the whole candle before the reversing parts kicks in.

Which meant…

I had a butt load of wax to get rid of, somehow.

But that’s for next time.

Until then…

Onward and upward.


Copyright©2021 Michael Jay Tucker

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