Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Seducing the muse

It's not the blank sheet of paper in front of you. It's the blank space in between your ears.
What can I write about? What can I paint? What can I play? What can I create?
When the muse departs and goes her own way, far away...
One of my tricks has always been travel, but if you can't travel, can't go experience something, then what?
I don't call it writers' block, because it's not a block. Sometimes you just dry up inside, and can't seem to "get the juices flowing."
You need to prime the pump. 
You need to lure the muse back, and she's gullible, she's hungry, and she can't resist even a hint of a come-on. A word, and inflection, a raised eyebrow, a gesture, a smile, a sound, a scent, a touch, and she'll show up.
Perhaps tentatively at first, but once she's close by, once she's hooked, she'll be seduced.
So I went and sat on the back porch this week and opened an old leather-bound 3-ring notebook of my Dad's, one that he'd engraved a nude woman on 40 years ago with his leather tools. 
Yellowed blank pages were inside hadn't been touched in all those years.I sat there listening to birds, watching sunlit shadows, listening to the breeze.
I picked up a pen and put it on the blank paper, 
and started scribbling a list of things to write about. 
 I contend there's a direct relationship between your brain and fingers and a piece of paper that is not there with a keyboard. Yes, you eventually have to type it, but it's not the best place to start. Staring at a blank screen is worse than starting to scribble on paper. The ideas come to me from a more tactile experience. 
At first there was only one idea on the page, some doodling, and then others gradually came.
Soon, there were enough to provoke more ideas  and the list grew into comments and thoughts about structure. 
And before the week was out, the list had grown with travel opportunities and adventures I'd not expected.
The muse had been seduced.


  1. My muse as of late has been something I heard on YouTube. So far, it has generated a piece of fan fiction that has been getting raves from the people on the message board I spend time on. I don't even know how many pages it is, because I've written the entire thing in Yahoo Notepad. I'll have to transfer it to Word to see how much I've truly written.

    But that muse...she (or he in some cases) is everywhere and nowhere all at once.

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  3. That's badass writing. Like Bradbury, short & to the point, but vivid. I can't do that.
    (Gah, I can't even spell things correctly the first go around)