JCT

#66 National Short Story Day

In books on December 20, 2010 at 11:19 pm

The 21 December is officially my least favourite day of the year, but at the same time, in a strange way, also my favourite.

Being the shortest day in terms of daylight hours, it is inherently depressing and barely worth getting up for.

But it also marks the point from when the days will begin to get longer. Imperceptibly so at first, I grant you, but it is the principle that matters. It is the beginning of the end of the gloom, the start of light coming back into our lives, the idea that there might be things to look forward to on the horizon.

Conversely, Midsummer fills me with barely containable joy at daylight stretching so far into the night that it meets itself coming back the next day – some summer nights I can barely sleep and spend much of June on an insomniac high. But at the same time it holds a sense of sadness at its passing for another year. (Some people feel like this about Christmas, which is why in a perfect world it would always be Christmas Eve, never Christmas Day.) Midsummer is not only the ultimate night, it is also the first inkling that the summer which hasn’t even properly arrived yet is already on its way out, Autumn will come and go, and before we know it, it will be winter again.

I think the Moomins have the right idea, going to bed in November, not waking up till Spring, then spending the summer having midnight adventures, sailing around islands, and running away from Hattifatteners.

Hurrah then for National Short Story Day which is also taking place on the shortest day (geddit?). There are events around the country, a biggie in Manchester, and stories for you to download online. Something to cheer us all up.

I’m not sure if they are planning a similar event for the longest day of the year – a national Proust readathon (nearly 1.5m words – three times as long as War and Peace)?  A world record attempt to get through all 12 volumes of A Dance to the Music of Time in one sitting? (I actually know one person who is currently RE-reading Anthony Powell’s cycle – needless to say they don’t have children). As it took me two months to get through Stewart Lee’s (sublime) 370pp How I Escaped My Certain Fate, and I’m still trying to find time to get past page 100 of Freedom, I might have to pass if they are.

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by The Midlife Manual. The Midlife Manual said: RT @jctblog: National Short Story Day: http://wp.me/pF383-fn […]

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