“Why I Adore the Night” Challenge

Friday, 16 September 2011

a galaxy of stars

Slowness, silence, the different rhythm of the night is a necessary correction to the day. I think we should stop being night-resisters, and learn to celebrate the changes of the seasons, and re-align ourselves to autumn and winter, not just turn up the heating, leave the lights on, and moan a lot.
Night and dark are good for us. As the nights lengthen it’s time to re-open the dreaming space.

We have all experienced negative darkness, - those long watches of the night when we can’t sleep and worry about everything, and so we know that ‘dark time’ can seem interminably long, compared to daytime. Yet this slowing of time, characteristic of dark time, can be the most relaxing and beautiful experience. Spending the evening in candlelight, and maybe by the fire, with no TV, talking, telling stories, letting the lit-up world go by without us, expands the hours, and alters the kind of thoughts and conversations we have.

Food, fire, walks, dreams, cold, sleep, love, slowness, time, quiet, books, seasons – all these things, which are not really things, but moments of life, take on a different quality at night time, where the moon reflects the light of the sun, and we have time to reflect what life is to us - knowing that it passes, and that every bit of it, in its change and its difference, is the here and now of what we have.
Life is too short to be all daylight. Night is not less; it’s more.

-All quotes are from Jeanette Winterson’s article, “Why I Adore the Night”, published in The Guardian on Saturday, 31 October, 2009.

I have a challenge for anyone who is willing and happens to be reading this. It’s a challenge that was inspired by an email I sent Gracia and Louise. These two talented ladies make some of my favourite zines (not to mention a whole host of other beautiful bits and pieces). I recently received a delivery of papery goodies from their shop, and as I was reading the story behind this particular zine, I felt a huge urge to contact them and suggest an idea for a zine. I hope they don’t mind me sharing this suggestion here.

Basically, my idea for a zine theme is expressed in Jeanette Winterson’s article, “Why I Adore the Night”. Her article, and the theme of night, conjure up images of comfort and snuggling, warmth and solitude, protected companionship and intimate pleasure, fire and soft light, star-gazing and endless counting, honeyed toast and bread crumbs, books enclosed by a lap, or perhaps sitting next to a furry friend. They also awaken a type of dormant consciousness that suggests the night is a mode of being in the world where working and striving are momentarily replaced by a type of loss of time and urgency.

I’ve quoted from this article before, and I can’t seem to let it go. Some things just tend to hang in there in your memory. I guess that’s why I love film adaptations so much; they compel us to revisit stories, to extend them, to engage with them in ever-new ways. My challenge is a creative one. Reading Winterson’s words compels me to extend them. I’d love to see them adapted in various ways. A poem, another essay, a story, a photograph, an illustration, a dance, a song, anything really. If her words move you too, please feel free to extend them and create something. Also, please feel free to email me your creations, or post them on your own blog and let me know.

There is no time-frame for this challenge, I’m open to any submissions over the next few weeks (or months). Hopefully I get at least one! If not, I'm happy to have tried. I rather like the idea of forming a small, momentary network of creativity, based on the theme of why we adore the night. Be as clever, metaphorical, or literal as you like. But please do share, I’d love to see what you come up with.

That’s my challenge, is anyone game?

Image by the ever-wonderful Gracia and Louise. Visit Gracia's blog and Louise’s blog to learn more about their work.

Edit: Whoa, I’ve already got a few submissions, that was quick guys. Just to clear up any confusion though, I want to stress that I’m not planning to utilise these submissions for a printed zine just now. Sorry if it came across that way. My idea for Gracia and Louise was an idea for them to create a zine, not for me. I simply wanted to branch off from my suggestion to them by creating a small, online collaboration, to share submissions on my blog, or to have other people post their creations on their blogs. Maybe in a few months time, when I’m finished with my book, I’ll consider compiling the submissions into a zine. Thanks.


gracia said...

Hello there dear Hila,

If you could see us, you'd see we are both blushing. We are also terribly excited and love your night adoration challenge.

Just wanted to send a quick Yay! Challenge accepted! your way before all of Friday disappears.

Expect an email shortly. Expect night soaked images. Inky skies and lights. And all such things.

g xo


hila said...

am most excited! xo

SJ said...

i love Gracia and Louise's beautiful paper products, i have some of their awesome cards.

i'm going to try and participate, just need to put my thinking cap on!

the dizzle said...

oh snap. as a night person always trying to be a day person, i love this! though when i think of night, i think of the one of the first paragraphs from dandelion wine by bradbury - i don't have the book on hand but it's basically - when the clock strikes three is when all the souls come out ... night is comforting but there's also another world that goes on, that i'm fascinated by. it's peaceful but shady too and there's a certain ethic involved in those that are awake during those hours. this challenge makes me want to take photos! i'm excited!

Enia Is (Almost) Here said...

aaah. total night person here as you know. i'm in.

Tana said...

guess it will be a nice project!

the wild bunches said...

Love the idea. I will try! x

Rambling Tart said...

What a wonderful idea! :-) Just last night I sat alone in the dark in Amsterdam, loving the friendly feel of night when the lamps are glistening over the canals, shimmering into my living room windows. I love it. :-)

Danielle P. said...

My mind is teeming with ideas on this nocturnal theme... What a wonderful challenge! I am thrilled to accept!

Thea said...

Yes, I'm game. Now the real challenge is finding a way to express that which I have never been able to express before; that particular feeling of night, a kind of safety and yet inifite mystery. What a lovely idea, Hila.

Victoria said...

lovely essay, thanks for the suggestion! good writing just grabs your soul, doesn't it?

gilead in bloom

elliottwithlove said...

What a fantastic idea! I would love to submit something!

Sally said...

I think I'm in too! It may take me those weeks or months to come up with something though. I want to give the autumnal nights I so adore justice.

Sasha said...

This is absolutely wonderful. Really. I have always had this very loving affiliation with night. I guess being a night person does that. I also have been exploring the concept of what life becomes at night for quite some time. I'll spruce up some pieces I've written (and browse through my photos). I love sharing love for the night!

odessa said...

i'm in! this is a great idea. :)

Olga said...

This is a very interesting subject. I need to think it over. However, it's a challenge I would love to do.
I always find something delightful when visiting your blog.

julie said...

hila, im up for the challenge!
i have an idea...

and yes, yes to clean white sheets flying on the clothes line. xx

Louise said...

Hi there Hila, My mind too is swirling with zine ideas. Last night was stormy and the wind howled through our garden. It was the sort of night I love in a way, so unpredictable, in mother natures hands. A little scary too as our roof has a tendency to leak in heavy rain storms. xolj PS I love this work of Gracia's you chose to include in your post.

P R I M O E Z A said...

this sounds so lovely!

hila said...

gracia: oh gosh, an email with 'night soaked images. Inky skies and lights.' sounds too perfect. I can't wait ...

sj: thanks! take your time, there's no hurry.

the dizzle: I'm so glad you're excited! I agree, the night does seem to open up a different world.

enia/maja: yay, most awesome.

tana: I sure hope it will be.

the wild bunches: great, thank you!

rambling tart: sigh, that's such a perfect description, I wish I could have joined you.

danielle: oh I was hoping you would, I know you'll come up with something thoughtful and special.

thea: am most honoured to have you involved thea :)

victoria: it does indeed. I can only dream of being as good a writer as Winterson.

elliottwithlove: you're most welcome to submit anything that comes to mind, looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

sally: great, no problem at all, take your time.

sasha: wonderful, happy to have you on board.

odessa: yes! thanks odessa :)

olga: likewise Olga. So glad you've decided to participate.

julie: oh, I'm dying to see what this idea is ... thanks!

louise: we've been having such nights here in perth too - it's like the weather is aligning with my ideas. Ha, I wish :) I love this image too.

primoeza/elizabeth: thanks, I hope it'll be fun for everyone involved.

erika molina said...

So, where can we find all the contributions readers did to the challenge? It would be awesome to check them out.
Thanks for the initiative.