couple weeks ago on a gorgeous spring afternoon, I threw open the heavy
velvet drapes in my bedroom and cracked the sliding glass doors. I fell
down on my bed and crawled beneath the crisp sheets. The sun through
the transom was warm on my face.
It was a glorious day for
That evening, I rose at dusk to
a chorus of crickets. Leaves rustled in the courtyard. Birdsong at
twilight. I closed the sliding door and turned on the low lamps in my
house, donned my slippers.
And sat down at my desk to
I know I’ve got it backward,
though I’ve wondered more than once if our day or nighttime preferences
are actually hardwired within us. I have engaged a few of you in this
conversation before. Despite efforts to change, I’m leaning toward the
I’ve been a night owl as long as
I can remember, risking ire of parents, camp counselors, sleeping
college roommates. When I was married I used to try to turn in before
my husband’s morning alarm went off—not that I’d want to loiter past
dawn at any rate. As soon as that wan light hits the horizon, all the
magic is gone.
Daytime, for me, is the realm of
errands, of customer service, and bank and mall hours. Of Oprah, lunch,
phone calls, and working out (’nuff said).
But evening, especially after
dark, is the realm of possibility, danger, dreams. There’s something
primordial about midnight, fertile as ooze.
I’ve always been a little afraid
of the dark. I slept with my head assiduously covered up well into my
early thirties. All the better reason to work by gorgeous lamplight and
sleep in the sun by day.
friends, and colleagues have all separately wondered about these
strange hours of mine. “You’re really a vampire, aren’t you?” more than
one of them has written to me in response to an e-mail sent in the
hours before dawn.
“Quite human,” I say. “As far
as you know.”
As human as anyone who pursues
light by the adventure of writing, but finds the best way to do it at
And so that’s why you might not
hear back from me before noon, why my five a.m. reply to your e-mail
happened on the going-to-bed side of things rather than the
waking-up. Why on any given sunny day you’ll find me at home,
drooling on my pillow...
Until night comes with her
brittle stars and fluttering moths. When the day-to-day is gone and I
making tea, preparing as the rest of the world sleeps . . . to dream.