Nighttime belongs to lovers, there’s no doubt about that.

And nighttime is for writing, too. As the day ends, as daylight fades, and darkness rises from slumber, the mind awakens with the power of a thousand twisted thoughts. Writing is a derailment of one’s own conscience, of sorts, of that I’m convinced. The creative process is an accident of nature, a freak occurrence, a layer cake sprinkled with a pinch of abject fear and naked vanity.

Yet, when we create, be it a piece of writing, or a sheet of music, or perhaps a new way of resolving an equation, for those with a mind who can see how all the numbers and symbols fit together, we embark on a process of catharsis. We lay our minds on the line and purge our emotions, pouring out what we carry inside, be it on a piece of paper, a word processor, a tablature, or on a blackboard, writing out those cryptic x and ys that have plagued the consciences of school pupils the world over for centuries.

Right at that moment of creation, nothing else matters but the creative process itself, and the item it spawns. Our minds are focused on the newness and the freshness of our own magnificence, relishing the taste of a new piece of so far undiscovered marvel.

Because that’s what these things are; marvels. Some believe stories are relics of an ancient past, that they were always there, ready to be plucked out from blackness and obscurity by the writer’s creative mind. I tend to agree with such notion. There is an extra dimension out there somewhere, beyond the world we see with our eyes, just beneath that shimmering boundary that exists somewhere deep inside our brains. We ride past that frontier every night, when we dream, and sometimes we cross over, as if crashing through a two-way mirror. The other side isn’t real, or perhaps it is, and we actually live in a fantasy world tethered by the dreams of many.

There is a dimension where all stories dwell and rest. For years, centuries, millennia even. Dormant, but not dead. Wraiths from a turbulent past, magnificent treasures of a masterful storyteller mind, perhaps, who knows. A being of unfathomable nature and origin, a creature from somewhere else, the genesis of all that is make believe, something that gave us the power to imagine and create, and to take the pieces we need from it in order to do so. One a time, because that is how stories are written; one word at a time.

Some people see numbers. They see fractions, and square roots, and remainders. Others see musical notes, melodies, and crescendos.

The writer sees words, drifting across the mire of his or her mind, bobbing up and down a murky and uncertain surface. They make no sense, at first. They are merely groups of syllables, gatherings of letters organized in a coherent manner, while at the same time loose, and undefined. The onus is on the writer’s sycophantic mind to delve into this inner world of swirling turmoil and fish out the right words in the right order, and put them down on that computer screen, or that blank sheet of paper, for them to see, or for the world to see, if they are one of the lucky ones.

And always, always just one word at a time.

Published by Fernando Sanchez