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  • Writer's pictureJenna Heller

The Night Watch: an immersive reading experience

A few years ago, I wrote the first draft of a short story titled The Night Watch in response to a National Geographic photograph taken in an icy ship graveyard. The sky was an eerie green from the Northern Lights and the sunken ship skeletons added to the mystery. From recollection, the location was somewhere near Russia and the Arctic circle. I saved the photo but it's now trapped on an old and dead laptop and I've not been able to locate the photo online. (The photo below is a stand-in. Thank you again National Geographic.)

Around the same time, I discovered a video of Arctic white noise and wind, the thrum of an anchored research vessel overnight. I wrote The Night Watch fully immersed in the photograph and the sounds from that video playing through my headphones.

So if you'd like the truly immersive reading experience, grab your headphones, press play on the video below, and start reading The Night Watch in issue 7.2 of The Maine Review out today. Thank you to the editors, particularly Brett Willis who believed in the story from the beginning and helped me sharpen up a few of the details without losing any of the mystery. And thank you for choosing to spend some of your time with my story, too.

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