Last week, I drew a shape that I wanted to make with pentominoes. It was the right size -- 60 square units in area -- but I didn't know if the 12 pentomino shapes could really be arranged to fill it. I stayed up late one night trying to solve the puzzle (and late for me is pretty late indeed), but had no success. When I decided it was time for a nap, I reminded myself that my subconscious mind would keep working on the problem.
Last night, I pulled out the drawing again, and my little set of pentominoes. I picked the pieces up and laid them on the outline, one by one, and suddenly, there was the completed figure in front of me. It didn't take as long as it's taken me to write about it. I threw my head back and laughed, because I was so surprised. I wish someone had been there to see, but they wouldn't have believed that I didn't have the solution memorized in advance. Which, in a way, I suppose I did -- I'm convinced that some part of my brain really had been working it out all week.
But did I make a conscious decision to sit down and try the puzzle again -- or did that part of my brain decide that it was ready, with my conscious mind just along for the ride?
I have a costume piece in mind for this pentomino arrangement. You'll see it again, if all goes well.