When You Can’t Throw It Away.

DSCF4814I 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?