Being Seduced

Originally posted on November 9, 2009 at 2:26 PM

Like the last blog, sometimes I have to go all out to lure the muse out of her hiding places. But sometimes, she approaches me with the sort of intolerant determinedness of a siren. No no’s, only yes. Only writing allowed. Sometimes, she does this at absurd, unforgivable hours, such as 3am. But with a muse like mine, you go with it.

How to describe that creative rush to someone who’s never felt it before? For me, it starts off as a disquietude. I feel unsatisfied and antsy, like I need to go work out or have sex. But it’s not that, although at times it feels almost physical. It’s more than that, and doing other things only delays it, not appeases it. This is the “percolating” process, where I have the seed of some idea but it hasn’t formed yet. I know it’s good, but it can’t be written. I let it grow in the back of my mind.

At some point the idea takes hold. I don’t usually do this part consciously. I imagine that this is why bards and writers of the olden days used to accredit things they produced to a muse or divine inspiration. It’s almost as if I don’t come up with the ideas. They sew themselves in the spongy matter of my brain without my doing. All I do is allow myself to be open and receptive to them, no matter how outrageous or bizarre they may seem.

Eventually, the idea is ready to go. Often, I don’t realize it right away. I’m busy with the rest of my life and don’t have time to sit down and write. Sometimes I do. But usually, the idea keeps growing, keeps gaining momentum like some impossible snowball in my head until it’s too big to fit. Until it give me headaches. Until I absolutely can’t ignore it or put it off. Usually at 3am. Or when I’ve just lain down to go to sleep.

Then it hits me. Undeniable. I try not to fight it anymore; I just sit up, tell Kyle to put on his blinder thingy, turn on the lamp, and go. I always keep a pen and notepad in my nightstand for this reason. You never know. If the muse is in the mood, I’ve got to be ready. In the past, I let that creative rush blossom in my head and think that there’s no way I’ll forget this. This is too good not to remember tomorrow. I’m too tired to get up and write. I never remember it the next day. That’s heartbreaking, let me tell you. So now I give in. Allow myself to be seduced, if you will.

Because as one of the folks in my critique group says, you never rewrite anything you write at 3am.

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