The All-Nighter

There is a peace that I find in working an occasional all-nighter on projects. Somehow, around 3AM, if the work is progressing steadily (because if it is not progressing steadily, oh boy are there so many tears), there is this almost mystical, floating-above-it-all feeling to the creation process. The mind separates and distances itself from the body, and there is nothing but you and the work at hand, and the creation grows upon itself until finally you can go to sleep. And you notice the birds beginning to wake up and the sky start to lighten. Such a curiously calm feeling, for those last final hours of work before you collapse for a few precious hours of rest before heading to whatever life has for you later that day.

I work late like this maybe a handful of times a year, and sometimes it tends towards the weepy end of exhaustion and sometimes in this near-delirious state of joy. I can’t do it for multiple days in a row (I’ve tried), and I know it throws my body off for days afterwards, so I really try to avoid pulling these late nights. But when I have to because a hard deadline is looming, the all-nighter can be an intense spiritual experience, I imagine in a similar way to fasting or experimenting with psychotropic drug can be spiritual, though I have not tried either. Maybe it’s just a relief of me to have my inner critic entirely silence during the creation process for a few brief hours.

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