For the writer, the difference between night and day can be as different as…okay…night and day.
Nights are contrary. They can be the room in our heads where inspiration and atmosphere come to stay for the night. Or places where undermining second-guessing comes to crash uninvited.
But the mornings…very different.
Daylight is for balance. And confidence. And forgiveness. And resolution. And the reassurance that, hey, what bothered you about your story so much last night ain’t so bad after all.
The day/night contrast is a manifestation of our ancient selves. We are timid after nightfall; we fear the raptors lurking in the dark…until the daylight shows us that that the scary shapes were nothing more threatening than outcroppings of rock. Silly us. Yet, caution is in order: In another darkness, on another night, the predators might be real. And then you’re just plain screwed.
Daylight is the time that tells us we can fix what’s broken; that a bit more hard work and trust and judgment will give us the solutions we are looking for. These are the hours of determination and hope.
And those spaces between? Twilight is lovely. And melancholy. A time for looking back on the day’s work with weary pride…or frustrated dissatisfaction. Dawn…a time for impatience, and for a wondering whether the sun will ever come up.
Night saps hope. Daylight restores it to its place. Night is the cynic. Day is Tinkerbelle…just clap and all will be well again.
We dream in darkness, but our dreams are full of light—the optimist in us trying to step up. And even if the dark inhabits our dreams, we know that the sun will come back. Even if it is a sun under clouds.
The unpleasant guest that visits in darkness is hardly one that we can simply refuse to invite back. Instead, we hope that the better guest will come to visit; the one that brings the gift of ideas. And that the daylight will make everything right again. Each to its own room in the house of the head.