Walking the Cat . . .

Because life's kinda like that . . .

Romancing the Muse . . .

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Throughout history writers have attempted to gain the attention of the Muse, that indefinable source of inspiration that will provide the impetus for the story they feel compelled to tell.  They have used every sort of trickery and guile to accomplish this, all designed to convince their particular Muse of their worthiness to receive her gift.  Many — most in fact — fail miserably in their attempts owing to the fact it is Muse, not the writer, who determines the worthiness of those upon whom she would bestow her gift.  And she does not bestow her gift lightly on any and all who beseech her.  She must be pursued, wooed, romanced and seduced into relinquishing her gift of inspiration.

It is more than a little obvious I envision the Muse as female.  I often imagine her, a young, nubile girl, draped in diaphanous fabric, perched on the corner of my desk, daring me to look up from the page.  But I do not dare turn my attention from the task at hand, no matter how beguiling an image she projects.  She is testing me, daring me to abandon the work and place myself in thrall to her charms.  I cannot.  I must not.  If I surrender, even a moment, to her now, she will forsake me, abandon her perch and go in search of another more deserving.

I cannot convince her to impart her gift, her genius, through words.  No prayers, no matter how fervent, can convince her of my worthiness.  Any fool can pray; they do it all the time.  I must act to demonstrate all my skill, technical mastery of my craft; to show — not tell — my dedication to the task at hand by constant practice, perfecting each line, each word until they are honed to knife-edge sharpness.  I must do this again and again and again.  Then, perhaps, when I have practiced sufficiently to prove I possess the skill, the determination to use her gift to its fullest advantage; when I have demonstrated the endurance to see the task through to its conclusion, then she may lean forward from her perch and whisper, breathily, in my ear the words I long to hear, “You are inspired!”


Written by stevewthomas

January 7, 2013 at 7:30 am

2 Responses

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  1. When I was in college, I managed to convince an adoring young woman named Allison to be my fill-in muse. As I wrote my first novel, she would read it page-by-page, sometimes sentence-by-sentence, and declare that it was the work of a genius.

    The day I handed her the completed manuscript, she dumped me. I haven’t written a novel since.


    January 7, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    • You know, Tony, sometimes it takes a painful experience to show us where our true talent lies (or is it lays?) I enjoy your writing and your current post on “thrifty writing” is very good. Pruning my work is something I’ve not been especially good at. . .my brother a television producer once told me my first drafts were like his third or fourth in that I do most of my editing in my head before I put pencil to paper. I didn’t believe him, still don’t. There isn’t a single piece of writing that couldn’t be improved with a thorough and thoughtful edit. Thanks for the comment. Steve Thomas


      January 7, 2013 at 5:38 pm

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