Friday, June 6, 2014


In the dim dark hours of the night, when sleep escapes, my thoughts sometimes return to the mystery of why writers, when they come out of their dark caves at conventions and actually engage in social contact, talk about so many things that are peripheral to what they actually do.  Conversations revolve around markets, editors, publishers, the latest web war, and whatever project they're working on.  They also talk about people, places, cabbages, candle wax, and kings, the latter set usually influenced heavily by strong drink in the cozy environs of the hotel bar.

But you, the writer, never seems willing to talk about your muse, that mysterious being who guides your thoughts and fingers back home, away from the crowd, where you struggle with the difficult problem of placing word upon word to form a story or make a cogent point.

Sure, you are a writer.  You've mastered the three-element plot, grammar, and  the proper use of gerunds, adjectives, and nouns.   You've probably grasped the basic rules of composition, formatting, and adhere to a smattering of professional courtesy.  You've even managed these difficult arts despite reading countless guidance about the "correct" way to approach writing.

But in the dim quiet it is just you and the tabla rosa, the blank sheet that beckons to fill its spaces with words, words, words until your fingers no longer feel the keys and your eyesight starts to fail. What is it that you've been doing until exhaustion overtakes you?  Were you in a fugue state, cooly calculating, plugging along, or thinking of the sweet oblivion of NOT writing?  What is it that drives you to write, even when there is only a very distant prospect of anyone besides some overly critical slush reader ever seeing your thoughts, your words, and your stories?

"Muse," you say, but do you really know what you mean and why, dear God, do you never really talk about her to others?


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