Sleep/no sleep

I’ve written a lot of (my) good stuff around 3am. As I writer I’ve always savored absolute quiet, and since I’ve been living with a rowdy group of young lads for the past year and a half, 3am has been almost the only time to find such quiet. Oftentimes it’s much more of a draft-generation period than anything else, because at such a late hour my mind tends to fire creatively but not with much precision or attention to detail. Nonetheless, I’ve found the time invaluable in creating workshop pieces and completing various assignments, staying up until 3-4am often to complete writing something until I crash and burn.

This year, however, things have changed a bit. There’s about one night every three weeks where I don’t crash and burn past 3am, where I am effortlessly awake until 9am the next day, sometimes beyond. Last night was one such night. Such nights, however, are counter-productive. For some reason, losing the expectation of sleep yields utter apathy. Perhaps, in my mind, a complete disregard for the cardinal rule of bedtime reduces all other rules to nothing. I don’t know. At any rate, such all-nighters give me a completely new perspective.

When I sleep until 5pm and miss class, wake up to make myself a bagel and orange juice, I feel distinctly detached. Detached both from those around me, whose bodies are operating on wholly different schedules, and from time itself, which slides by evermore effortlessly with each all-nighter gone by. And I’m glad for this detachment. It’s reliable, calming, perhaps cathartic. It feels like I’m skating through reality as one might a dream, with almost entirely-internal thought processes. I’d like to think it makes for some halfway-decent writing. Maybe not.

One Reply to “Sleep/no sleep”

  1. 3AM is always the best time to write, I don’t know what it is that makes it feel so profound. For me, I think it’s because the end of the day, when everything has happened and you have quiet to reflect on what’s happened. But your mind is still active, not tired yet. I think there’s also an emotional aspect to it, that comes from the exhaustion of being up that late.

    I remember dozens of times where I was just about to fall asleep, my mind already drifting, when I would jolt awake to jot down a line. I’m sure there’s a set reason why inspiration arrives late at night.

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