spontaneously combust

November 8, 2019

It makes all the sense in the world. You awaken and smell smoke and see that the cat at the foot of the bed is on fire. And so you scoop him up and race to the bathroom and douse him with the tub. You reassure him that he will be fine – he is fine – telling him that everything’s okay. You hold him firmly but gently under the faucet because you are worried about his burns.

The only thing is, you’re not awake. But you’re not precisely dreaming, either. After all, in the morning the sheets are wet where the cat slept when you both went back to bed, and there is fur in the tub. There are scratch marks on your arms and the back of your hands, because the cat was justifiably resistant to the idea of a shower in the middle of the night. And, of course, the animal was never on fire. Northing in the house was on fire. And you’re a responsible person; you know that cats and dogs don’t spontaneously combust. But in the middle of the night, in the fidelity of that instant, you were saving the cat’s life and that was all that mattered.

Chris Bohjalian
The Sleepwalker

Alone in the Rain

October 28, 2019

Rain falling on me.
I am naked and awash
with the rain that wakens
your scent on my skin.
Cold, too.
Pointless to try to warm up
as this night my soul
is a thunderstorm of chills –

P

I wrote the book in narrative order and wrote the end last. I decided to write through the night. I’d never done this before, so it felt fruitful in its originality at least. I had the house to myself. I lit candles, turned off lights and tried to summon death.

I wrote for hours, until the sun came up. I wrote from every angle – others watching Tessa die, inside her head, dark tunnels, bright lights… I had to get rid of all the clichés by writing through them and I had to get rid of the critic (who often sits on my shoulder). In the morning, I had 22,000 words and my arms ached, but I knew the end was in there somewhere.

I opened all the curtains and because I’d told friends what I was planning, I got lots of supportive phone calls and then went out for breakfast. I didn’t look at the words for two weeks, which really allowed time for reflection. When I read through them again, I knew what to do.

Jenny Downham
Interview with ‘The View From Here’ October 2008

Night music

August 25, 2019

The music of the night lies not in the stars but in the darkness between them.

Chloe Aridjis
Asunder

gave you life

August 25, 2019

I imagined you in my bed at night and so gave you life, sculpting you in to existence from the stuff of dreams.

the rush of rockets

August 6, 2019

The night was soft and persuasive. Overhead hung a summer sky furrowed with the rush of rockets; and from the east a late moon, pushing up beyond the lofty bend of the coast, sent across the bay a shaft of brightness which paled to ashes in the red glitter of the illuminated boats. Down the lantern-hung Promenade, snatches of band-music floated above the hum of the crowd and the soft tossing of boughs in dusky gardens; and between these gardens and the backs of the stands there flowed a stream of people in whom the vociferous carnival mood seemed tempered by the growing languor of the season.

Edith Wharton
The House of Mirth

Witchcraft

May 12, 2019

 

For you, I would burn this night a thousand times just to watch you form stars out of your witchcraft.

M Channing
The Petals Of Lilies

Ravenswood

March 17, 2019

Night doesn’t fall,
but rather, all the disregarded shadows of a day
flock like blackbirds, and suddenly rise.

Stuart Dybek
Alaska Quarterly Review, Fall & Winter 2012

our secrets

February 14, 2019

After each night we are emptier: our mysteries and our grief’s have leaked away into our dreams. Thus sleep’s labour not only diminishes the power of our thought, but even that of our secrets.

E.M. Cioran
A Short History of Decay

to kiss and stroke

January 31, 2019

Making love in the afternoon is completely different in summer and winter. To begin as the afternoon light is fading, to wake up, warm and heavy, when it is completely dark, to kiss and stroke the shared invisible body, to leave the person you love half asleep while
you go and open wine…

Jeanette Winterson
Why I Adore the Night