Chief Editor’s Note: Don’t Go Softly

Elizabeth 2

Never mind Blake’s moralizing dichotomies, some are born to night, which is its own kind of sweet delight. The solstice is but a few days hence, and night has taken its yearly respite. It’s a thrilling and troubling time for night creatures such as myself. On the one hand, the lopsided day cycle imparts a strange energy. On the other hand, what’s a mid-bluish night without stars?

Deep night, say 1-4, on a weeknight is a good time for walking. A city empty of people becomes more obviously full of other things. Smells – sea, trash, wet concrete and rocks, grass, tree bark, piss, tar, cheap old food – all float more clearly on the night air. Fox people and rabbit people go about their business in the spaces sleeping human people have freed up for them. So much in a city has been made for the convenience of human crowds. Without the human throngs, sidewalks, covered tram stops, plazas, statues, empty buildings seem to await recontextualization. They exist in a kind of meaning free zone that the night walker may also enter. Here thoughts float in the brain more clearly and arrange themselves in strange patterns.

A little earlier is a good time for running. If there’s something I miss about the countryside, it’s the ubiquity of animals, all that life surrounding you, each in its own little sphere of concerns into which you only incidentally enter. Night running around the edges of the city though I’ve met the aforementioned foxes and hares, tanuki, frogs, hedgehogs, deer, snails, the occasional cat, and of course the people of the hour – rats. These distinct but overlapping ways of being in the world, different focalizations of reality against the steady vegetal background, are somewhat comforting. Claws, fangs, spikes, slime, and cunning nonwithstanding, we all have our niche in the world.

For many people, even those born to it, proper enjoyment of the night can be difficult to arrange. The usual work schedule disallows it, and most cities, being less safe than Helsinki, discourage nocturnal perambulations, particularly through wooded regions.

But fast approaches the holiday made for enjoying the night. Though decked in blue and dusky summer best and practically in the lap of day, it’s still night in all loveliness. The day is set aside for enjoying the night all the way through. So do. Between the other entertainments – the drinking, grilling, taking of saunas, swimming, and setting stuff on fire – take a pause and appreciate the depths of evening.

And so, with this, it’s time for this crepuscular denizen to vanish into the night. My year as Editor in Chief of BTSB has been challenging and stimulating, a happy responsibility. I’ve been excited to welcome a bevy of new writers, my creativity has been pushed to take on new topics and forms, but mainly I’ve been happy to work with such an awesome group of people. Pulling issues together is a happy task when I know I have articles from these folk to look forward to. I pass the inky scepter to Inka, our new Editor in Chief. Anticipate her observant wit and lucid prose in this space next autumn.

First, however, a new batch of articles to enjoy when you’re not enjoying the night. Take a quick fiction break with Elina’s short story “Papillon” or dive right into politics and the media in Danielle’s article on the Canadian prime minister. Petteri biographizes America’s one and only Emperor in an article that entertains with facts, and I autobiographize my life in Finland in a comic that entertains (I hope) with silly pictures. We also have an anonymous article that takes an insightful look at depression, and Milla takes an equally insighful look into communication’s role in democracy. Finally Kaisa’s here to tell you about the coolest festival you’ve never heard of.

Well, my ship is sailing. On to sweet delight.