I seem to remember that in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, at some point, Douglas Adams talks about inspiration, and how it is a random force that just sometimes happens to hit someone who can actually do something about it. I think the point is made that the inspiration for a world-shattering discovery hits a duck and is therefore completely lost on it.
I completely agree with that theory. Not only because I have seen quite a few rather confused-looking ducks, not to mention bewildered sheep or neurotic squirrels (who obviously understand the random bits of inspiration they get hit by but can’t seem to get their ideas across, which must be terribly frustrating…), but also because in my own experience, inspiration is indeed one of the most random things in the universe.
Also, like the stars, it would seem that although it’s there all the time, you can only see it properly in the middle of the night. And that is a right pain in the arse.
The thing is, no matter how daft or insignificant a particular idea may be, I find that if I don’t do something about it, it will continue to nag me until I do, like a particularly bloody-minded door-to-door salesman who will stand there and ring the bell until you open the door, whether you’re in the bath or not. Or in this case, whether you’re comfortably asleep in your bed at 2am and that you have to get up in a few hours to go to work.
I am seriously considering keeping a selection of farmyard animals in my bedroom in a desperate attempt to earth some of those damn lightning bolts of pure genius that keep my up all night tinkering in my lab.