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Fever dreams
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Ten days ago in Berlin, I came down with the flu or a bad sinus infection or more likely both. Come evening, I began to shiver. I was running a fever. I spent the night in a semi-conscious stupor. The hotel radiator was not as hot as it might have been. I put on a sweatshirt and returned to bed. Dazed.

I've read that the never-never land between sleep and wakefulness can realease creative ideas. It's as if the curtain between the conscious and unconscious mind becomes porous. Famously, chemist Friedrich Kekule dozed off on a London bus and awoke having figured out the atomic structure of benzene.

I'd been writing most of the day, so thoughts of informal learning were darting in and out of my head. Around 1:00 am, I began to have an ah-ha. An image of the streamlined, universal, informal learning portal began to form in my mind's eye. An hour later, the image was still fuzzy but I hadn't lost it. Fever dreams! At least lying in the dark shivering wasn't time going to waste. 3:00 am, 4:00 am, and 5:00 am passed by. Occasionally I'd take a swig of mineralwasser, but most of the time I just shivered and smiled to myself that this new software was being pieced together in my mind.

Around 7:00 am, I could wait no longer. I cut on the computer and began sketching my vision.

That's it.

This reminds me of stories in the Sixties where some guy is high on speed or LSD. He writes for three days straight, finally turning in when he runs out of ink, convinced that he has just written the Great American Novel. Upon awakening, he finds three hundred pages filled with the word mu over and over again.

I think I'll have to wait for my Nobel prize.


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