The ancient Teengachi tribe believed that there were spirits for everything. There were spirits of the river, not just of rivers in general but of every river, along with every mountain, boulder, and tree. There were, too, spirits of creativity.
Back in the old times, when there were fewer printed words than could fill one bookstore, the creativity spirits had a pretty easy job. But then the novel became ‘the big thing,’ and if you were anybody who was anybody, you had to write.
And the creativity spirits were disappearing like mad. The other spirits didn’t understand why until the creativity spirits called up a meeting and declared:
“The humans can’t be able to turn us on and off like a faucet, or the world will run out of ideas and all literature will be forced to rip off other literature. There’ll be no more us.”
The other spirits were speechless. They turned to the creativity spirits for answers, not problems. “What are you going to do?” they asked.
“We’ve decided that, to conserve energy, we’ll be withdrawing from the world forever, returning at only one moment of the day.”
“I suggest midnight,” piped one spirit.
“No, too cliché,” said the spirits of creativity. “We’ve decided to do 11:30 p.m., because even writers have to sleep.” There was no opposition.
And so 11:30 p.m. became the standard inspiration time. The writers soon adapted, learning not to start their work until half-an-hour before midnight on the day it was due.