OK, so what has a Muse got to do with my writing? Is there really some external force, controlled by a goddess (is that one, three, or nine?) or spirit (presumably also female) who is the source of all knowledge feeding my imagination with poetic lyricism and myth?
[caption id="attachment_2625" align="alignright" width="127" caption="Such a lot of inspiration!"][/caption]
Sorry girls (and I am trying my best to be politically correct here), but I can think of those lovely ladies I have seen or met in my life that might warrant the title goddess… but I would hardly credit them with my inspiration. Although, no doubt, I could easily write them into my stories if I chose too! But that, as they say, is another story!
And what of my inspiration? Is it really an unconscious burst of creativity within my literary endeavour? Google the word “inspiration” and you can quickly find a rough etymology… literally “breathed upon”. Is there some goddess breathing upon me, bringing life to my ideas?
I think not!
[caption id="attachment_2626" align="alignleft" width="93" caption="Did my Muse mention divorce?"][/caption]
While I might welcome the breath of the odd goddess (or two)… (Oops – I digress!), I can hardly rely on such attentions to feed my artistic craving to create! Now can I? If I did, I would be beholden to external forces and subject to all the inevitable frustrations that can occasionally creep into any relationship, no matter how well founded.
Just think… sat around waiting for my Muse to turn up when she is otherwise engaged in some politically correct level of her own equality-driven creative activity – unable to attend to my particular needs… or sat around waiting for her hair to dry, so that she appears in her best possible form… I could imagine any reason as justification for writer’s block.
No! For the time being at least (until such time as I actually find my Muse, though I refuse to look for her) I take inspiration. I do not receive it. I am alive. I do not need life breathing into me. I take life, as I see it, and mould it into my vision.
[caption id="attachment_2627" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Hanging Out!"][/caption]
So, as I spent the last few days without my trusty laptop, unable even to write this post in advance of my deadline, I had the opportunity to sit in Covent Garden, in London. This is a fantastic place to visit – full of street buskers and artists vying for attention and pleasing crowds of visitors with their performances. I sat at a table, with a glass of sparking water, thinking “…this is a good place to write something”.
Out came pen and paper and I looked around.
I had no time to wait for a Muse to catch me up – where had she been all day?
I simply marvelled at the lime-green cloth on my table; caught the eye of the elderly lady who changed her table position so that she could see what I was up to; listened to a Japanese musician playing his Sho; watched the heaving, bustling crowds as they passed into the Market from the adjoining street… I did all these things and took inspiration from them to write a scene for the sequel to River of Judgement.
And never once did I hear anyone telling me what to write – that comes later, when the editor’s pen comes out. And whether the editor is female or male, I shall listen, then – because their role is not about creativity and inspiration but about technique and style. And that, as they say, is another story!