Author’s Note on ‘After Midnight’

For those who have read the story, you must have a lot of questions! Well here’re some FAQs (that were never asked) (and aren’t even questions) (well, most of them) :

  • How do you know they’re called Hugo and Hanna? I don’t! They are purely fictional characters.
  • Hugo WEAVING and Hanna TAYLOR. Was this intentional? Hehehahahoho YES.
  • Are you aware that Hugo Weaving actually exists? Yes yes YES I do and he plays Elrond in LOTR but I still used the name anyway because I wanted to make it a point that Hugo Weaving and Hanna Taylor (which is obviously as common a name as you can get if you do a Google search) aren’t special people. This isn’t a story about two special teenagers. This is a story about two typical teenagers trying to find their places in this labyrinth of a world (now that just sounds like some corny lyrics, doesn’t it?).
  • Did you have anyone in mind when you wrote about the characters? (This is secretly a question I want to answer.) Yes, I had Alaska Young and Hazel Grace Lancaster in mind when writing about Hanna, although I’m still not quite sure about Hugo, so THANKS JOHN GREEN!
  • Hanna doesn’t have long hair and Hugo doesn’t wear green Converse shoes in the video. These were subplots that Ellen gave, actually. I quote Ellen, “She was initially attracted to him because he was the only one wearing green Converse shoes for miles around (she doesn’t even like green)”. And also, Ellen’s drawings of the two main characters depicted Hanna with long hair, so I went with it:

    Hugo and Hanna

  • They are supposed to be wild and euphoric in all their actions the entire night. This was one of my dilemmas. Initially, I’d planned to follow the scenes in the video exactly, but halfway into my story, I realised that it’d be monotonous and repetitive to just list down their adventures without providing a background story to them, and that’s why I included the conversations that give more insight into Hugo and Hanna’s lives.
  • There is no stairwell! They went to the roof! The roof scene was something I’d initially wanted to add in too, but I went with the lyrics instead: “we’ll stagger home after midnight / sleep arm-in-arm in the stairwell”.
  • I have chronic insomnia/acute social anxiety and what you said in this story is untrue/impossible/stupid/silly etc. I’m sorry! Really, I am! All the information I got on chronic insomnia, social anxiety, youth psychiatric wards and really, almost everything in the story were from Google. (I even Googled “where are wheelchairs stored”, “how many gallons of water are there in a swimming pool”, “can hair be fanned in water”, “where is san diego”…yep)
  • I don’t like your story. I’M SORRY!!!!!!!!!

Thus, ultimately, this is a fictional story inspired by both the video and the song After Midnight but not exactly a story about it (taking the differences and subplots into account).

Interesting facts I’d like to add:

I can’t get my feet up off the edge
I kinda like the little rush you get
When you’re standing close to death
Like when you’re driving me crazy

Hold on as we crash into the earth
A bit of pain will help you suffer when you’re hurt, for real
Cause you were driving me crazy

Hugo’s Numbness exists pretty much because of these lines. The first few lines indicate his “standing close to death” when he tries to jump off the bridge, and “a bit of pain will help you suffer when you’re hurt” (emphasis on help) means that Hugo jumps because he wants to feel “pain” and “hurt”.

I can’t keep your voice out of my head
All I can hear are the many echoes of
The darkest words you said
And it’s driving me crazy

I can’t find the best in all of this
But I’m always looking out for you
Cause you’re the one I miss
And it’s driving me crazy

“The darkest words you said” are Hanna’s words when she told Hugo her story. He’s always been afraid for her and while they’ll be stuck in the ward till who knows when (“I can’t find the best in all of this”), he’ll be the one to look out for her so she doesn’t sink into depression and hurt herself again.

By your lips, your word’s a robbery
Do you grin inside? You’re killing me
All along we talked of forever
I kinda think that we won’t get better
It’s the longest start, but the end’s not too far away
Did you know? I’m here to stay

What Hugo loves most about Hanna is the way her mind works to churn out words that she says, eg. her wonderfully impossible similes, her questionings of the regular community’s behaviour towards the mentally ill, her sarcasm etc. And during the last parts at the stairwell, despite the fact that ultimately, they are both stuck in the psychiatric ward, they’ll always be there for each other (“It’s the longest start, but the end’s not too far away / Did you know? I’m here to stay”).

I had fun writing this, and I hope you have fun reading it too! If you are particularly curious about anything, feel free to leave questions in the comment box below.

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One thought on “Author’s Note on ‘After Midnight’

  1. Pingback: After Midnight « To Write, and To Write Only

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