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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Ignoring the Muse

So, last week I started writing in my head. Well, actually it was longer ago than that, but last week my mental writing became so distracting that I was having a difficult time concentrating on anything else. It was like having a little movie screen in my head. At first it was easy to shut it off, but as the story deepened the more distracted I became, until finally I couldn’t concentrate on much of anything else. My brain was being commandeered by a group of fictitious characters seeking a platform on which to raise their lives.

People would ask me questions, but what I was hearing sounded more like Charlie Brown’s teacher, Miss Offmore, saying…”Waw-waw-waaw-waw-waaw-waw.” I’d have no idea what sort of answer to give…because I wasn’t listening. I was writing in my head. My oldest daughter picked up on my auto-muting first, insisting that I never listened to what she said anymore. Of course I vehemently defended myself against her charges, to which she replied, “Then you either need to get your hearing checked or your head examined.”

I finally confessed my cranial composing to a friend who casually dismissed my admission, stating that that type of writing didn’t count. At first I was a little annoyed with his comment…but deep down I knew that he was right. How arrogant of me to ignore my muse.

The next morning I opened my laptop and began typing. It was as though the words were waiting back stage for their cue, and began tap dancing across the page. I was half audience half reporter as I surrendered to the creative process and allowed writing to write, while I simply transcribed the words. My writing isn’t always this fluid, but like a crowd waiting in line for a great concert, there is always a crush of people pushing through the doors when they first open, and then the flow eventually evens out.

I’d been so busy working full-time, blogging, networking, planning, editing, and querying agents that the thought of starting a new project seemed impossible. Like a mother chasing a hyper-active toddler through the grocery store, the thought of having another one seemed totally insane. I didn’t want to give in to it…accept the responsibility. But the words wouldn’t leave me alone; they demanded to be conceived, as though they were claiming their right to life.

So please excuse my huhing, and my glazed looks. I’m not being rude. I’m watching my characters as they rehearse their performances in my mind, and then act them out on paper. I’m doing what I love, and loving what I do…and life doesn’t get much better than this.


Christine said...

I have been doing this lately too. I have essay ideas in my head and they keep formulating and distracting me until I give in and get it out in my laptop!

Leah Griffith said...

Christine, why do we ignore the muse? When times are dry we pray for a visit. How dare we leave her waiting outside the door.
Keep on creating...nothing compares to it;)

Jayne said...

Leah, so glad you are indulging the muse. One should never employ use of prophylactics when it comes to the muse--you must let it all spill out! There's always room to expand the family. Isn't there?
And look what joy comes of it. Wonderful. You go girl! Another masterpiece in the making... :D

Cheryl P. said...

I can totally relate. Why is it that the muse keeps running in (into my head) at inopportune times when I am busy doing other things, then I can't remember what was surely a great thought?

Leah Griffith said...

Ah Jayne, Yes, expanding the family. I should have known better than to try birth control in such cases. I’m going to let it out and see what sort of offspring I produce…it is exciting. Masterpiece or not…it’s coming!

Leah Griffith said...

Cheryl, The muse is somewhat of a Diva. She makes no apologies for her lateness…or for interrupting. She knows that we are liquid in her presence with no hopes of resisting her.

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