Friday Writing Experiment No. 18: Candlelit Tales


So, for all our attempts to invoke spring last week, it’s still winter out there. Sun, some blue skies, but cold. Gets pretty chilly at night. It’s good to draw the curtains, light the fire, hunker down with a book or something good on the telly. Or a notebook and pen.

This week, while the nights are still long and dark, I’m spinning off something Elaine Showalter tells us she recommends to her students in Teaching Literature: writing by candlelight. Turn out the lights, spark up a candle, and write a story or a poem or just anything that comes.

Use a notebook or paper and pen/pencil. No ghostly light from a screen for our low-tech endeavour. Just the flicker of a candle, or candles. (The ones above were in Ely Cathedral, which I visited for the first time on Monday – pretty fabulous: arches, painted ceilings, lantern tower, stained glass glowing on stone, and so well maintained.)

(And if you are reading this in the southern hemisphere: sorry! Stay up late. And be aware of those lengthening nights …)

If you need a prompt, try one of these: blood, ink, handkerchief, mouse, drawl.

Otherwise, consider what happens when you write by candlelight. What sort of intimacy is created between you and the pen and the page within that spell of light? And how might it affect your writing?

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