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The Muse Is A Harsh Mistress II

Inspiration is a fleeting, elusive thing.

Sometimes you’ll think you have something, but then suddenly the Muse goes silent, disappearing in mid-sentence—buh-bye, you’re on your own!—leaving you stumbling in the dark.

And sometimes you can’t shut her up.

Often, she’ll just pop in at the most inconvenient times.

One of her favourite tricks is the middle-of-the-night inspiration, when she sneaks up just as you’re surfacing from a dream. You’ll be lying there in that deliciously dreamy, generative state between worlds, one of those luminous moments of not-quite lucidity, when a perfect phrase pops into your mind. You spin it out for a moment or two, still no more than half-conscious, and then YES! You’ve got something! It’s sheer genius!

These moments are pure gold. The trick is to capture them, which is kinda like catching a meteor shower—transcendently glorious, but only if you happen to be looking at the right part of the sky at the right instant.

Blink and you miss it.

In the middle of the night, you’re far more likely to blink, to succumb to the voice that says, of course I’ll remember this in the morning. It’s SO GOOD, how could I possibly forget it?

But you’re so very pleasantly relaxed, your limbs are leaden, your eyelids glued shut. The very last thing you want to do right now is turn on the light and write down that genius thought.

More often than not, the tiny part of you that says, no, actually, I won’t remember, I never remember, is overruled by the majority, who just wants to sink back into slumber and stay there till morning.

Inspiration has come and found you sleeping. You snooze, you lose. Literally.

What to do?