I woke, in the middle of last night, with a brilliant idea for this weeks’ blog. It wasn’t a dream, I was awake for half an hour or more, forming sentences into a coherent stream. I had it all worked out beautifully.
I keep a notebook on the bedside table for that kind of situation, but last night I ignored it. The idea was so powerful and logical that I was certain it was securely lodged in my mind.
When I later woke-up properly it was, of course, gone, or almost. All I could remember was that I had evolved a simple but unique way of describing the way short stories work.
I do remember how chuffed I was with my ability to build such a sturdy argument, but in this cold morning light, I find it impossible to reconstruct any of those unique fragments. Everything I think of now has definitely been said before.
So instead, I am thinking about the real value of those night-time notes I do make. It’s true, that I rarely use them directly. Often they are barely coherent, which may be either a fault of my note-making, or a reflection of the true state of my semi-conscious mind, and even when they do make sense it is generally true to say that they prove less unique and fantastic than I remember them being.
The fact is though, I need them to exist. I use them as triggers to expand, explore and discard ideas. I don’t know whether those middle-of-the-night thoughts come from the conscious or subconscious mind, but I do know that even though I always discover that the connections I made then are more obvious than they seemed, they are part of my idea-development process, and knowing what I will not use is often as much use as deciding what is relevent.
It’s possible that if I had written them down, I could have taken a fragment from those ideas and worked it into something more viable. But because I couldn’t be bothered to reach for my pen and paper I’m haunted by the suspicion that I actually did have an unreproducable eureka moment in the middle of the night.
Could anything be worse?