Firstly, apologies for not posting in a while. Life caught up with me a little bit this week, spent so much time working that I didn’t find time to do anything but sleep and recover between shifts. And then any time that I deliberately took off work was to go to different things that also left me without time to write. I know I need to put more priority on it, so hopefully I’ll be able to get in into my schedule more often whilst I’m still working. But anyway.
People always talk about the possibilities that a new day will bring, but for me, it’s always been about the night. As someone who doesn’t get much sleep (despite my best efforts at times believe me), I think that many of the best moments/thoughts I’ve experienced in my life have came to me at night, especially since I’ve started writing regularly. I like to think that it’s not just me; that the night – dark, mysterious, brooding – holds some kind of atmospheric power over those who dwell in it, who seek to bring forth creative beauty from its depths. Even if the end result is almost never as expected, it gains tenacity, authenticity, call it what you will, simply from the raw emotion that comes pouring from its body, the sense of something not invited, but nevertheless present.
A couple of weeks ago, when essay deadlines were looming for a lot of students as term drew to a close, I found that the evening/night population of the library greatly increased, so when I first started thinking about all this I wasn’t so sure about how relevant it was. But as the hours ticked by and numbers dwindled, the true armies of the night emerged. Bright-eyed, alert (despite the late hour), you could see something in their eyes: not false productivity fuelled by caffeine, nicotine and desperation, but the buzz of the true creative process. These people are most at home at night: it is their natural environment, and whilst the majority of the human race lie in bed and dream of what the new day will bring, they have already begun to make those dreams reality.
For me, it’s about the quiet. The rush of traffic; the beeping of mobile phones; the chattering of strangers and lovers alike: our world is so full of noise, so much so that finding silent moments to think and reflect is more or less impossible. But at night, that changes. I step outside and suddenly the world is so very far away. A copy of a copy of a copy. Even though there are always reminders that this world is knocking at the door (see my previous post on nightlife as an example of the potential night time cacophony that can be found if you know where to go), it’s said that if a sound is made where no-one can hear it, arguably it isn’t a sound at all. The night is where I can truly be alone, to think, reflect, write: whatever I wish to do, my brain is no longer assaulted by the often overbearing stimuli of daytime activity.
And so I sit, and I write, much as I am now, in a dimly-lit room with darkness all around me. I feel almost as if the words are not my own sometimes, that I am just their conduit. I unleash myself upon the screen, let go of all inhibitions, and the words are the result. Often this result isn’t pretty, and rarely is it relevant to where I started thinking. But it is my own. Whatever images I may present to people in the day are gone, and all that is left is my self. My soul, my self. Mine. My own (my precious?). And this sense of ownership, even if it isn’t much at all, is what keeps me going when all else fails. Because I know that someday, somehow, these words will become something more than just my own. That hopefully I will write something that people give a damn about, even if it’s all a load of shit really, and that I can be proud of.
But before all that, I must carry on as I am. For it is only by failing in the night that we can begin to succeed in the day.