Stinging nettles are a pervasive and troublesome weed. Minuscule hairs all over the plant “act as hypodermic needles and inject histamines into the skin of anyone trying to pull them” (Wikipedia), and underground rhizomes allow them to multiply quickly and resist weeding.
What possessed someone try cooking and eating them? It turns out they are delicious and medicinal – but can you imagine if the hairs worked the same way in your throat?
The first person to try cooking and eating nettles needed three traits: hunger (if you weren’t starving, would you try it?), a spirit of experimentation, and a little bit of madness.
That, coincidentally, is what a composer needs: hunger to achieve, willingness to experiment in new ways with the musical tools at hand, and the ability to walk away from the status quo in ways that might seem a little bit mad.