Up All Night

free-photo-full-moon-628If I had a minute of shut-eye for every time someone has asked me, “When do you sleep?” I’d have to change my name to Rip Van Winkle. But I’m about as far away from that concept that you could get. I loathe sleep. I detest ending the day. I’ll do pretty much anything to avoid bed time (like writing this blog). It’s like admitting defeat, though for a battle I could never win.

“Damnit, Earth! Your endless rotation has thwarted my plans once again!”

I began dwelling on this when I noticed one of my coworkers, Simon Berman, tweeting about how he couldn’t sleep because his mind was overflowing with creative ideas.  It’s an affliction I’m all too familiar with, and apparently it’s contagious. Creative insomnia has ruined many a morning, but the irony of it all is that no matter how tired I might be through the daylight hours, I never want to retire at a reasonable time. The sun sets, and I wake up. It’s always been like that.

Historically, I do some of my best work after 11pm. There’s something about the way the world quiets down at that hour that is highly conducive to creativity because the distractions that thwart a concentrated stream of thought have all gone to bed. Most people are asleep. The incessant chime of incoming email ceases (unless you’re in a twitter conversation). It’s practically a guarantee the phone won’t ring. And if you happen to be a parent, your child (if a year or older) should be fast asleep.

I suppose it’s only fitting that my own son, nearing 2.5 solar years of age, resists the notion of bed time every night. And by ‘resists’, I mean the way the Spartans resisted the Persian invasion at Thermopylae. It’s practically a fight to the death every night, only his weapons include a battery of story books, a barrage of songs, and an assault of defense-shattering hugs and kisses so adorable that you’d have to be a corpse to deny entertaining his playfulness for whatever time it may take for him to become exhausted to the point of sleep.

But I know where he’s coming from. He’s afraid of missing something interesting or important. What if something incredibly fun happens and he’s not awake to experience it? What a disappointment that would be. Frankly, sleep is boring. The only purpose it serves is to facilitate your alertness, physical endurance and mental health when you wake up. But if you’re blessed/cursed with the power of creative insomnia, who cares? You might spend the day dragging ass, but you’ll wake up eventually and be ready to write/draw/game/party just fine. I know this for a fact. I’m doing it right now!

The cold, hard, realization is that I was born on the wrong planet. Somewhere out there in the infinite cosmos, there must be a world with a 30 hour day. In 30 hours, I could work 18 hours, spend four hours painting miniatures and playing video games, and I’d still get eight hours of sleep. What a perfect existence that would be.

I need to go to bed.

2 thoughts on “Up All Night

  1. Man… a 30 hour day… just imagine what I could get done staying up late on a day like that..

    I’ll admit, my “Creative Insomnia” as you put it (love that term… just like “Rube Goldberg Strategy” which I heard the other day, and am totally going to blog about) isn’t as bad these days… back when I was programming or doing web design, it was terrible, because stopping feels like you’re flat out destroying the creative process… all those potential ideas that are flowing might not come back in quite the same way when you start up again.

    It’s different these days when I’m painting… which almost makes me sad. Sure, I can get carried away and stay up late, but that’s different. When I paint / sculpt now, I know what I’m working on, I know where it’s going to lead, I have a picture in my head. If I stop at night, and begin again the next evening, my path hasn’t changed; I’m just picking up where I left off and continuing to the same destination.

    I ran into your creative insomnia again recently, which was kinda nice.. a mini I was working on (Mulg the Ancient) completely changed as I was painting him from what I had envisioned in my head. It was nice, and I loved the final product. As a bonus, now I can take that idea and implement it on the Mountain King.

  2. “sleep is boring. The only purpose it serves is to facilitate your alertness, physical endurance and mental health”

    Bad things happen without sleep….Trust me I’m a *ZZZzzzzzzZZZzZZZZzZZZzzzz*

    Though I hate the times when I have a vivid dream that is so full of ideas and potential and then wake up to feel it slowly leaking out of my head until I am left with “Yeah, that…um…that thing was a good idea, now how did it go?”

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