When Inspiration Knocks

It has been said that any book is ten per cent inspiration and ninety per cent perspiration, but without that initial spark of something, any written work is drudgery. It is that ten per cent that gives the writer a chance to produce something more meaningful than a mere collection of words. It is the spirit that allows humanity to rise above mediocrity and aim for something to strike at the soul of the reader.

So why does this inspiration always come at the most awkward times?

With me it arrives unbidden and often unwanted when I am heavily engaged in other activities. For example, I can be in the shower or happily lying in bed, when an idea bursts into my dozing brain.

Now a idea coming at night gives me a number of choices:

  1. Leap out of bed and dash through the house shrieking ‘Eureka’ on my way to the keyboard
  2. Find pen and paper and scribble down the ideas there and then
  3. Ignore the whole thing, go back to sleep and hope to recall said inspiration in the morning.

Now: all of the above have drawbacks. Leaping out of bed may not be the best idea in our house. For a start that would probably wake my lady wife, who is averse to sudden wakenings and would respond with either extreme physical and verbal violence or, more likely, concern that everything was all right.

‘Is it Alex? Hannah? Lesley? What’s wrong? What’s happened?’

That level of worry is dangerous on a sudden awakening and cannot be allowed to happen.

That leaping around would also necessitate me charging around the house in a state of extreme undress, which could also create reactions if my younger daughter, who sometimes stays with us, was at home. Either she would be shocked to see her dear father in such a condition, or more likely she would collapse in fits of laughter. Neither are to be recommended. Therefore the leaping and yelling of ‘Eureka’ is a non starter.

Finding pen and paper is a much better idea. Except one needs light to write and a sudden surge of light would also waken the wife-woman, with the same results as in the leaping around process. So one must write in the dark. Now my hand writing at the best of times resembles the scribblings of a drunken three legged spider who has fallen in a pot of ink: writing without a light makes it like Egyptian hieroglyphs without the meaning. Which means that I would spend hours the following morning trying to decipher the unreadable.

That leaves option three:  ignore the whole thing and hope to recall it the next morning, which is exactly what I did when the idea for this blog struck me last night.

There must be a fourth choice



About malcolmarchibald

Happily married for 34 years to Cathy, I have three grown children and live in the depths of Moray in northern Scotland. I was educated in Edinburgh and Dundee and work as a lecturer in Inverness, while writing historical books, both fiction and fact.
This entry was posted in children, family, inspiration, nudity, wife, writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to When Inspiration Knocks

  1. ttibben says:

    The fourth choice .. type into a mobile phone or a tablet. They are self-lit so can be set to cast a small light. Enough light to work without waking the wife especially if you angle it such that the light doesn’t shine on her.

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