is for Night Owl. And many writers will admit to being night owls and staying up until stupid-o-clock because they are much more efficient and creative during the wee small hours. I know….I am a self-confessed Night Owl.
As soon as the sun begins to disappear over the western horizon and the sky glows red and gold….I start to come alive. Any feelings of being down or mildly depressed disappear, the creative juices start to flow and my Muse yawns, stretches and hops out of bed eager to begin writing.
I think also that I feel safer at night. No one can ‘get’ me when the rest of the world sleeps. No one will knock at the door (at least no one who I want to see) my phone won’t ring so there are no demands for my attention. And even as a child….I was never afraid of the monsters under the bed or ghosts who may be lurking in dark corners.( The only thing that I can remember which scared me silly was an episode of the 50s western series ‘Cheyenne’ when the hero of the title met the Native American mythological creature…The Wendigo. Now that’s really giving my age away. But I was about 4 or 5 at the time. )
The downside of being a night owl though is that most of your family and friends are ‘Larks’ …the opposite of ‘Owls’. Or if they are naturally ‘owls’, they’ve had the good sense to force themselves to change their natural rhythm because of work or family commitments. So when they are off ‘up the wooden hill to Bedfordshire’ at ten-o-clock, you’ve hardly started. Many are the times I’ve phoned/texted members of my family at midnight and beyond and had sleepy, slightly irate voices or return messages asking me ‘Do you know what bloody time it is?’ Er…..yes of course I know. And why are you in bed so early? And worse, they come knocking at your door at eight thirty when you’ve only been in bed for four hours.
And apart from writing more efficiently at night, you get to see, hear and feel things that ‘larks’ miss while asleep.
In summer one can occasionally see beautiful lightning dancing around the clouds and if one is really lucky, there’ll be some thunder as well. Foxes with their cubs coming to scoff the old cat food I used to put out at night, and hearing them barking on cold, misty nights. And one very memorable evening…I felt this;
The 2008 Lincolnshire earthquake struck Lincolnshire, in the United Kingdom, on 27 February 2008 at 00:56:47.8s GMT. According to the British Geological Survey, the quake registered a reading of 5.2 on the Richter scale with the epicentre 2.5 miles (4 km) north of Market Rasen.
Now that was really exciting, but had I gone to bed at a ‘decent’ hour I might have missed it.
I believe it’s true that…””Blessed are the owls, for they shall inherit the mystery and magic of the night”. And there is, for me at least, nothing as magical as seeing the first inky white glimmer of light in the eastern sky on a May morning, and hearing the first jubilant notes of the blackbird’s song as it resonates around the empty streets.
The late Margaret Thatcher famously said that she only had four hours sleep a night and thrived on it….I can believe that. And here is a list of other famous Night Owls;
Hunter S. Thompson
Adolf Hitler during World War II slept from about 4 to 10 am and napped from about 5 to 7 pm.