I had a great idea for a blog subject last night, just as I was drifting off to sleep . I struggled to remember it this morning – then when I DID remember it, and having half-written the blog, I remembered that I’d told you about it before. Oops.

But the whole struggling-to-remember thing reminded me of a story I heard years ago, about an author who, in a slightly drunken condition, woke up in the middle of the night with a great idea for the story he was working on: He scribbled it down and went back to sleep. Waking the next morning, he remembered with great excitement that he’d had a fantastic idea and checked his note: “This room smells funny”, it said.

It’s pretty well known that Coleridge had memory problems – his best work was written while off his face on laudanum. Madly writing down Kubla Khan while the high lasted, he was interrupted by a Person from Porlock, and by the time the unwanted visitor was gone, Samuel Taylor was back from his trip to Planet Xanadu, had completely forgotten the rest of what he was going to write, and the poem never grew beyond 54 lines. It could have been as long as the Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner – so thanks, mysterious Porlock Person, you at least saved us that.

Mind you, I can’t help thinking that if that was a present day story Coleridge would’ve been on crack cocaine, Kubla Khan would’ve been a gangsta rap, and the hapless Somerset resident would’ve been stabbed in a back alley by one of the poet’s homies.

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