I get some of my best ideas in the middle of the night. You know the time I mean, right? Those wee, small hours way before it starts to get light, even in summer.
Now, these ideas are great – the problem is, I don’t often remember them. It used to be that if I woke up, had a light-bulb moment and stayed awake until it was time to get up, then I had a fair to middling chance of remembering. If I dropped back off to sleep (and it would almost invariably be 10 minutes before the alarm went off) then the chances of recalling my middle-of-the-night muse would be slim.
But things have gotten worse. A lot worse. Even if I stay awake now I can’t remember a thought 5 minutes after I had it. This happened to me last night: I got a good idea (well, I thought it was good), ran it through my brain several times to implant it in the grey matter and decided I wasn’t going to forget this one I a hurry. I even tried a memory technique where I imagined a huge silver chain, with one link missing, sitting in the corner of the room, with a pen embedded in it, like the sword in the stone. Then I had a momentary lapse where thoughts of work popped into my mind (couldn’t help that, despite my best efforts to concentrate on something nicer), then turned back to this marvelous idea, and it had GONE! All I was left with was the vision of a silver chain and no idea what it was for. I spent the next half hour trying to figure it out.
It came back eventually – it just jumped up at me when I wasn’t looking, and now, in the cold light of day, I wonder if it was worth all that effort!