When it’s late

Cisk at the Newsroom

Working 12-hour shifts at the newspaper gives the night a particular edge, after it’s all over and you slump back home.

The exhaustion is expected, implicit even. But your sleep can’t be blissful: you’re too tired to shower, your brain is stuffed with news stories, with reams of digital copy the likes of which you’ve seen over and over again, week in and week out.

But there’s something democratising about this feeling. All glamour is stripped away after the 11pm mark hits, and you still find yourself at the office. At your desk, midway through a story, or waiting for a report to come in.

When you’re that tired, you should be sleeping. But if you’re deprived of sleep at that juncture, the dream world will seep through regardless. The belt that holds sleeping and waking is unbuckled, and just like that – while still firmly seated at your desk – you’re floating.

That same strange concentration, that same pinching together of thoughts and feelings happens, sometimes, when I write. My novel was probably borne out of just such a moment, and for all the necessary slogging, such moments are what I keep coming back for. What you keep coming back for.

But what you keep coming back to work for is something else entirely.

Which is to say, I need to make more of a habit of jotting things down. Lord knows how many of these fugue states have gone to waste clicking away on Facebook while waiting for a story to be wired in.

We should do our dreams justice.

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