Turn the dark ON

Sometimes you’ll walk into Grand Central when it’s still light outside and shoot out of the exit tunnel into complete darkness.

Going from light to dark in a short period of time is like having the electricity suddenly go out. The eyes flicker to readapt to the new surroundings.

For some, the first appearance of night signals rest. Most people use this time to sleep or play with their gadgets. A few people drink to escape reality. Even fewer people spend the time to work on something meaningful.

Someone like Joseph Heller wrote Catch 22 in the evenings after work. He’d write for two or three hours a night after his job as an advertising executive doing campaigns for magazines. He was not a tortured artist. He found as much joy in his day job as writing Catch 22 at night. “I couldn’t imagine what Americans did at night when they weren’t writing novels,” Heller said.

What you do at night is the stuff you’re truly passionate about. Side projects are really the things that leave an imprint on the world.

The freedom to create always clashes with the stresses of cash. No one pays you to occupy free time. That’s why it’s ever more important to leave the light on in your head while everyone else’s brain shuts down.

Darkness sparks the brightest moments.

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By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of and four books.