Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Feeding the Muse

Do you ever feel as if you are not the only one living in your body? Something or someone is hungering, and it’s up to you to provide the food. There are subtle signs at first, like maybe you are sitting at the beach enjoying the lovely afternoon sun, listening to the waves rush onto the shore. The gulls are calling, the children are frolicking nearby, but you are uneasy. You almost feel guilty like you are totally wasting your time there.

So what do you do? You get up, pick up your belongings and walk away. You trudge back to your home and sit at your computer. You open a new page and sigh deeply. Nothing happens. Your mind is blank. That little devil is playing tricks on you again; you might as well have stayed at the beach.

Later that night while you are in dreamland, you suddenly awake with words tumbling out of your mind so fast that you can’t catch many of them in your memory. You jump up, now fully awake and grab a notepad. You write the few words that are still in your mind. But as you read them over they don’t make much sense, so you go back to bed and back to dreamland.

Time after time that little monster will play these kinds of tricks on you. The only time it seems to be quiet is when you get serious and begin to write in earnest. You may only have a few dissociated lines or paragraphs, but you put them down and continue to be in a writing mode.

Then the strangest thing happens, the more you write, the more ideas flow from your brain. You are on a roll. The feeling is almost exhilarating, as if you are in a race car on a long, wide track and no one else is nearby. You speed forward, a big grin on your face, you write a saucy sentence and you laugh. You are beginning to like that new character, let’s see what else you might have in your bag of tricks for her.

But maybe you are disillusioned here. Your bag of tricks? Who are you kidding? It is that little monster’s ideas, and since you have been so obedient and diligent, you are being rewarded with the flow of words…every writer’s dream.

What is the muse anyway? An inspiration? says
  1. Greek Mythology. Any of the nine daughters of Mnemosyne and Zeus, each of whom presided over a different art or science.
2 A guiding spirit. A source of inspiration. A poet.

To me the muse is a hungry little monster that won’t bug off until he is fed. He likes to throw out the words in disarray and watch me put them in order. When I do that he is happy, he goes away and I can be left to myself knowing that I have accomplished a good bit of writing for the day. 

If I don’t feed him then he taunts me, like in dreams or while I am trying to relax. He is always there. I don’t see him, but I know he’s there. I feel his dissatisfaction when I am wasting time by not writing. Sometimes he goes away for a long time and that is when I do not, and cannot write. Maybe he has gone to bug someone else during those dry times, or maybe not.

Sometimes when I am having a particular dry spell that some people call writer’s block, I feel that I have killed him. And I don’t know whether that is a good thing or a bad thing. When he is quiet I kind of miss him, but when he returns and I want to waste my time and not make time for writing, then I hate him. So we have this love/hate relationship.

How does your muse bug you, and how do you satisfy him or her to go away and give you a break? What is your experience with the muse? Good, bad, or ugly?

Take a break and let me know. After though get back at it. Happy Writing Everyone!

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