It was 0230 and something had woken me. Like a hypnic jerk, I was shaken bodily from sweet oblivion, rising to the surface like a bucket from a well. It wasn’t thrashing rain against my window or someone clattering past my door on the way to the bathroom, it was a paragraph of words hurling their combined weight against the inside of my skull.
Saul Bellow once said:
“You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.”
In the cold light of day, I looked back at what I’d thumb-tapped, bleary-eyed, through my blinding phone screen many hours earlier. Besides the amusing blur of letters at the very end of the paragraph – presumably where my thumb rested on locking the phone – I’m as satisfied with it now as I was in that space between awake and asleep.
It seems strange, really, and I can’t help but admonish myself ever so slightly for being so obviously pretentious, but this is a true experience. It is also somewhat reassuring because it indicates that the discipline of writing has penetrated my subconscious. Writing often feels like a constant struggle, like forever pushing a boulder up hill, but if words are organising themselves in my head without being asked, I must be doing something right.