“Why I Adore the Night” Challenge

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.