I know I’m not alone when I say that the twilight hours are my most productive. The final few hours – or indeed the earliest – are some of my favourites in the day. Bound by eerie quietness and a sense of utmost finality, the PM is where my creative streaks run amok.
I remember feeling this way even at school, struggling to revise, struggling to put in enough hours to rest my own mind, and struggling to craft essays to the best of the ability that I knew I had somewhere between normal hours and 4am. It only continued at University, where my days were filled with meeting new people, attending lectures and seminars, playing with our cat, drinking coffees with my best friend, beach walks with my housemates… and out would come the textbooks and notebooks once the house was quiet at 11.45pm.
The quiet rustle of trees against cold-cut wooden fences in our garden, the gentle clink and clang as water flowed through the pipes in our surprisingly cosy student house, a scuffle as Archie (the cat) crashed through my bedroom door in search of cuddles from the only awake-human in the house, a silent splosh as Archie dipped his paw in my tea, the quiet hum of my laptop gathering journal articles and searching for books on my behalf. All combine for a comforting, peaceful, natural soundtrack to my working hours. I think it has something to do with the quiet appreciation of these natural sound effects that so often go amiss in the hustle and bustle of today’s normal day. Screeching tyres, loud and angry horns, furious tapping of keyboards from colleagues beside you, the tinny clatter of someone else’s too-loud music on the train, incessant barking from home-alone pooches next door’s, strangers sighing and tutting aloud.
Perhaps it’s the threat of the day ending before you’ve had a real go at making something of the day. All too often I cram things into those final moments of the day, a frantic guilt-fuelled moment of madness, the infamous ‘just another episode’, sometimes it’s a from-the-heart phone call, other times it’s an oh so productive eating of half a tub of ice cream. Swings and roundabouts, people. All the more misguided at some 3am, unlit moment of the night. Most of the time, though, it’s because my head has been too cluttered throughout the day, saturated with now useless snippets of information that contribute little to none to my personal projects. Train times, announcements of delays, the name of so-and-so’s celebrity baby, a revelation that women have bodies and wear clothes, the price of a meal deal at my favourite artisan café. All useless after initial contact. My head has been filled with temporary nonsense that evaporates at the stroke of midnight. And I like it. It’s temporary. New things are to come.
Happy Friday 13th. I wrote this post exactly a year ago.