November 3, 2008
From my deep, dark woods.
Suddenly, with the click of a nationally choreographed clock reset, it’s darker earlier. Which I, Vampire Composer of the Kelp, love. I’m like a mushroom: keep me in the dark and throw wet leaves on top of me in the drizzly rain, and I’m happy.
Most nights, I work until about 5 a.m. Sometimes as late as 7 a.m. Occasionally I pack things in at a “normal” time, maybe 1 a.m. or so, but it’s rare these days with so much on my plate. That’s the thing: to be lucky to love working so much that I don’t want to stop. How many people are fortunate enough to say that? Not enough.
Here in the land of higher latitudes, there’s a phenomenon to which I’ve had to adjust each summer: the lack of my beloved darkness. By the time Solstice rolls around, we don’t reach the Nirvana of a full, sometimes moonless blackout until nearly 11 p.m. And much to my protestations, as I compose in the sacred solitude of hours without ringing phones, incoming emails or doorstep deliveries, the first glint of sunlight begins around 3:30 a.m. and steals my nighttime. With the sun, so begins the happy, chattering ruckus of the birds, and the shift in the earth rhythms around me as everything awakens. Stop, thief! Don’t take my precious darkness away! I’ve still got tons of work to do! I silently curse the intruding light. For me, sunrise is a signal to my body that it’s finally time to go to bed. And when I’m in the thick of my writing at 4 in the morning, I am not ready to obey.
I realize that I am a mutant of our species. I have no difficulty falling asleep while watching a beautiful sunrise. Light can pour on top of me across my bed, nestled under a window that faces east, and it doesn’t bother me at all. I am impervious to light. But I am happily pervious to dark. I love setting my clocks back. I must have been a mushroom in a former life.