Typically when falling asleep in bed at night great thoughts enter the mind. Long stringed and meaningful sentences trip over each other to receive attention at the front of the brain alongside all the brilliant findings and results, meanings that speak volumes and hard hitting phrases that are just the ticket to open the door to success. The last thought in the brain before sleep overrides this brilliant future work is, must use that tomorrow.
The next day as you stumble out of bed to clean the teeth with little enthusiasm and to sit staring inanely at a pot of hot water (the coffee machine that you had forgotten to put the coffee in) these thoughts are still asleep. They are heaped and well obscured in other jumbled and nonsensical reasoning and justifications -- Double Dutch without subtitles or translation.
In fact, as you opt for a cup of tea (seeing as how the coffee machine makes the hot water), absolutely no prose, ideas or means to move forward spring into the mind. It can even be said that after switching on the computer and after having shot down twenty spacecraft and been eaten up by a green alien sort of thingy, that not even a title or starting sentence seems worthy of being tapped into the keyboard.
It can justifiably be said that the whole day has been spent in totally useless fashion. Staring out of the window at the idyllic setting only makes lying on the bed seem very attractive: the walk to the corner shop to clear the head only brings anger over the prices these shops charge and the afternoon nap has now obliterated or obscured all that might have been dreamt up that morning. In short, the head remains an empty void and a bottomless pit with no foundation.
There are two major periods of fantastic prose assembly and justifiable award-winning script construction. Had the results or product of these two periods of mind-boggling activity simply been recorded for posterity things would be very different. Even if they had been written on the back of a cereal box, on toilet paper or even dictated into a tape recorder (right over your friend's favorite tape) these reams of cohesive cognitive and collective convictions would have been the beginning, the middle and the end of many an article, essay, poem, writing or story. They would have been the justification, the vindication and the rationalization; the crux, the core, and the essence; the plot, the story line and the scenario; the speech to end all speeches, the thesis to bring in the top marks and the book that would sell more than any Harry Potter novel ever has.
Strangely enough the mind-boggling prose that springs out during these two periods in most writers' lives is not often etched or embedded onto some scrap of paper or recorded for eternity on a dictaphone. In the first situation the thinker and brilliant script writer has unfortunately fallen asleep before the thoughts of the night could be transferred from brain to paper. And in the second case the new author and Nobel Lariat is blind drunk, so inebriated and out of his tree that writing or talking is not a feasible possibility -- even though it seems like a good idea at the time.
Many forward-thinking and desperate strugglers go to extremes to capture and to retain these mind-boggling and superb strings. Some fall asleep with dictaphones switched on next to them so that they may talk out their thoughts before drifting off -- sadly they typically replay to sounds of excessive grunts and snores that shock to the core. Other more desperate souls actually manage to struggle out of bed to write on the back of a cereal box, over their mum's favorite recipe for peanut cookies or on some other handy scrap of paper.
The next morning, the ones that managed to write their thoughts down do have some success in thinking up new ideas, but only due to having had a good night's sleep. Safe and sound in the knowledge that their wonderful thoughts had been recorded they fall asleep like babies, knowing that daylight will bring brilliance to light. Sadly, when waking up it is either found that little brother has used that little scrap of toilet paper for what it was meant for or more commonly that the words that have been written down make absolutely no sense what-so-ever. All of these pre- sleep thoughts that had been jotted down look like the ramblings of an Egyptian Monk overdosed on battery acid.
The drunkard who manages to write something down is not a common occurrence. Usually at the point of aiming the pencil towards the paper at the start of what will be a lengthy diction and thus the subsequent lowering of the accumulated build-up in the brain, the pencil snaps. But drunkards certainly prefer to hear their own voices. One of their favorite methods of attempting to record such galvanic thoughts and ideas is to lean over to the next drunk and to recite in a loud voice all that they have amassed inside their heads. Having sprouted all out and after having warned their fellow drunk not to forget what he has been told they usually blank out, safe and sound in the knowledge that in the morning their friend will give back what they had received at a later date.
It never works! The average drunkard can never remember with whom he entrusted his precious thoughts. Over a beer the next evening it may come to light that one man remembers being entrusted with some important information, but for the life of him he cannot remember what the actual information is. These two persons may even get together that same evening but -- it never comes back again.
There it is. Two occasions of superb idea formation and collation yet never do they seem to bear fruit when it matters most! In fact whilst sitting at the computer, keen and willing to progress further than the blank page, the brain fails miserably.
Welcome to the club!
© 2003 Ieuan Dolby, all rights reserved
appears here by permission
Inspired during one night of intoxication and the fact that my drunken friend had a tape recorder with him.