It happens when I’m driving and there is no pen in the glove box. Or if there is, there is no paper to scribble on. Or if there is, once the thought is written out while driving like a drunk for a few blocks, the paper flies out the window. It happens at work when my hands are completely immersed in bread dough and I can’t extract myself quickly enough before the words erase themselves forever in a cloud of bread flour.
It does not happen with fingers on keyboard and nothing but time in front of me. Muses strike when the mind in a million miles away from the creative task. You can almost hear them giggling as you shift around trying to find a way to write down the clever piece of prose that just entered your head only to find that there is absolutely no way to do it. You tell yourself that you’ll remember it but in ten minutes it has disappeared like champagne bubbles leaving only a vague memory of something tasty as it fades away.
My muses, for I do believe I have several, are part pixie. They enjoy a good joke a bit too much and will sometimes sacrifice inspiration for a laugh at my expense. I am not without humor but like most people who are compelled to write I am in constant search of the perfect line of prose; that magical string of letters that spells out the minor notes of emotion and gives me back my worth. I’ve been known to pull the car over in order to capture it or climb out of a warm bed to jot down the beginnings of what may be the most gorgeous line I’ve ever written or it may just be a bit shit the muse has tossed my way to keep me humble.
Wooing the muse is a little like looking at those drawings that were once so popular. If you looked at them straight on you saw a simple picture but if you let your eyes blur and looked at it askance you would see something entirely different. Muses detest direct eye contact. They are shy and not given to confrontation. They are the peripheral vision of your mind and no manner of hard staring will earn you the reward of so much as a syllable of brilliance. But when the muse finally grants you an audience for a moment or an hour the shear delight of writing out full sentences that are devoid of stupidity or trite content is enough to suffer the days or weeks until the next visitation. It’s the most relaxing and satisfying experience I’ve ever had and it is at such times that I can stop twitching and punishing myself for a while. My addiction, thus fed, can sustain me at least until the muse throws a jumbled phase in my path and I once abandon myself to the tormented quest of making those words sing.
My compulsion has been growing ever since I read my first novel at twelve and wondered how the hell a person could do that. I have never been sorry. Frustrated maybe, and often awe struck by the power some writers command, but never, ever sorry for being stung by the writing bug. Unlike many, I have no expectations. I write when the muse moves me and I happily give myself up to awaitting her bidding. Still, I would prefer that she stop giving me fabulous ideaas when I'm on the freeway.