Listening to: Moby, Natural Blues
Someone asked me if I had a writing muse. My first response was, “no.” I was thinking about the movie The Muse with Sharon Stone and remembering how she was actually in the same room with Albert Brooks as he wrote, or tried to, and I don’t have that type of muse.
The Free Dictionary lists muse as a guiding spirit, a source of inspiration, a poet.
I agree with guiding spirit and inspiration, but poet? Not necessarily.
I’ve had a few muse’s in my life and I can honestly say, they are true to their definition. My writing seemed to flow from my fingers after reading an email, text or notes from them. Sometimes, if I were logged into a program (email, Facebook, etc.) and I could see that my muse was there available to chat, I could write for hours without sending much more than a “Hi!”
It helped that one muse happened to be an artist as well. It was like I fed off of the creative energy coming through the computer or maybe that was the radiation, but I choose to believe the former.
I also use music as a muse and find myself sometimes unable to write without it. Depending on the story, the music needs to be in a specific genre. Case in point, I wrote Highway 90 to Alternative/Grunge/Heavy Metal, but when I tried the same playlist with Johnny Mustang it didn’t work so well. I think I wrote about this in a prior post on Soundtracks.
So, how do you find a muse? What makes a good muse?
Hard to say. Maybe consider what you need from a muse (someone cracking the whip or someone to talk shop with?) They could be a family member or online buddy you met in a forum.
For me it was someone I already knew who was creative as I said earlier. I liked that they understood the process of taking a thought, an idea, and making it into something real that people could touch, read. Within that understanding were kind words always ready and willing to encourage and reassure me that I should keep writing. More than a few instances my muse told me to get to work, stop wasting time, and crank out a best seller. This is the personal side, the human touch, that I like about muse’s that music just can’t offer.
Muse’s as inspiration for stories is also completely believable as I didn’t start writing Highway 90 until after I started a dialogue with my artist muse. Pieces of the story took shape around my muse and I even wrote my muse into my book (bit part at the end). I often wonder if I would have written the story if not for my muse. Looking back I can say no, the trail to this story leads straight to my muse. Before that, I was scribbling junior high dialogue for another young adult book I’m in the process of writing.
The hardest part about having a muse is remembering the muse has a life too, meaning they may not always be there or have to leave completely, for long periods of time or maybe forever. Let me tell you, the leaving part sucks. To me, it felt like I was drowning in my own drivel. At times my writing just didn’t make any sense and the dialogue turned into a conversation I’d written two pages back. Seriously! I wanted to scream countless times throughout the day, “Where’s my muse?” (pathetic picture, I know) Anyway, my point is, don’t misuse, overuse or abuse in any other way your muse. They are treasures that don’t come along every day, okay for me they don’t, so keep that in mind.
So, I guess the short answer to the initial question that started this post is, yes I have a muse, a constant muse, which is music. Would I rather have a person? Of course. I have in the past and it’s different than music, but much more fun, fulfilling, as only human interaction can be.