So I was being a bit of a smart aleck about that diagram. Actually, it was a good idea. I was finishing up my grant proposal and was very dissatisfied with the theoretical framework. Dr. McLendon had told me to elaborate on it, and I had, but it felt disjointed. There was some of theory A and some of theory B but I didn't feel like it tied together.
Then I decided to draw a model of what I thought was actually happening, and suddenly the framework made a lot more sense. I had to rearrange and write some more, but it was no longer random piles of theory. I thought - for just a moment - great, I would figure this out at the last minute. Then I realized, better the last minute than the next day, after I've turned the proposal in. Hooray for just-in-time production!
Whenever I have a breakthrough that seems sudden like that, I never know if it is really a new flash of insight, or if it's just stuff that's been simmering finally coming together.