"An afternoon spent fishing seemed always to lead to a good night of writing, but most of my nights were good in any case. Whether I was in the cabin or out walking, the continuum of day-turning-night charged me, re-excited my interest in the work I would soon turn to with the lighting of the lamps. Little breaks outdoors — to watch Orion in the southern sky, or listen to rainfall on the covered deck, or howl into the canyon wondering if one could be conscious and truly wild as well — pepped me up as swing shift progressed and rounded the horn of midnight into graveyard. Maybe I need the company of darkness to stimulate my own darkness within, to excite its interest — or perhaps to excite my interest in it — or maybe it's just a matter of feeling at home. They are shy and tentative things, the stirrings that want life in words. You won't spot a mole in the light of sun, but at midnight, in the stillness of dark, he might just poke his nose above ground.

"Ultimately I can't know why I write at night, and I don't need to know. The things of darkness belong to darkness. As X. J. Kennedy has written in a poem, when the goose got too curious about where her golden eggs came from, her head ended up in a dark and very unfortunate place. I do know that I want the lit particularities of the observed world in my writing. I want the jags and curves and rough or silky surfaces of material things, their hues and heft, the exactly this that they present. They save me from the futility of vagueness. But I also want in my writing the dimness of dusk, the shadowed hiding places of day, the silent swirl of a deep river pool; I want misted mountains and the light of stars and moon and the full dark of a new moon night. When I see little clear, I seem to see farther, deeper. Night saves me from the tyranny of appearances. In darkness I remember that it is not knowledge to which we most deeply belong but mystery, and I sense in the mystery of night a beauty exceeding even the great and notable beauties of the daylit world."