I’ve lost my muse.
She’s disappeared. I know she’s out there somewhere. We’ve had a little contact, but nothing like we’ve had in the past. Before, after our conversations late into the night, my heart was racing and my mind was alive. I knew what it meant to be living again. I knew how Einstein, Newton, Shakespeare, Picasso, Mozart, Beethoven, and so on felt. I discovered what it meant to be at your peak of creativity or what creation is.
Because of her words towards me, the things she said in support of my writing, or her criticism of my thoughts, all led me to write. Not just write for writing’s sake, but really write.
She told me one thing a while ago, a comment on how she could read my writing from beginning to end and be fully captivated and engaged by it. She didn’t wander off to look at other websites or skip through it. She read it all and loved it.
And that’s why real writers write. They write because they have something to say, and they have readers who want to read it. If all of this was for me, then it’d be a journal in a book, tucked away neatly for only my eyes. But I want my writing to be more than that. I want people to enjoy it, and I want people to read it. I don’t care about the money that may or may not come.
When I was working at a theatre in Hartford, CT, the company put on a play with controversial themes. There was a priest wanting relations with a teenager and eventually committing suicide – he was also an alcoholic. There were two brothers who were always cursing, fighting, against the church, and one of them killed their dog. And then the teenager flirting with the priest. People walked out of it during the intermission and said comments along the lines of it being distasteful.
In Regina, the theatre there made a few risky decisions five years ago. They staged a play written by a First Nation for a First Nation audience that involved the murder of a white person. It was full of inside jokes and was empowering of the First Nation’s people. But, it was staged for mainly a white audience. Another play was a complete disaster because no one “got it” and didn’t enjoy it. It wasn’t a linear storyline at all.
What does that have to do with writing? After seeing those theatre events (and they occurred within a few years), I began to understand what good theatre is, and what good writing is. They say you can sum up the secret to comedy as being one word: timing. With writing, I’d say that word is conflict.
To keep a mind interested in anything, there has to be elements that don’t fit together, drama, some thought that goes against what your normal way of thinking is. The writer has to give you something that makes you think, “Wow. I never thought of it that way before.” Or, they say, “Hell no! You’re totally wrong” and proceed to read everything you wrote to see how wrong you really are, just so they can gloat or call your book trash, etc. If there’s no conflict, it quickly becomes boring. Of course, you may not enjoy the conflict and find it boring – why women detest football, and men detest the romance novel.
You’re still reacting to that story. There’s a tension and conflict involved. Drama. That’s the key.
My problems stem from not having any drama in my life. There’s nothing happening in my life that is making me go, “I hate that,” or “I must write more about that,” and no conversations that are debating things. There are conversations that make me think about things, but nothing that makes me want to write more about it. Not until I do more reading up about it.
So, this is a plea for help. I need my muse. Please, find her for me, and send her my way when you find her. I’ll take good care of her, promise, and she doesn’t have to worry about taking good care of me either.
Oh, and how do you know if you find her? I don’t know either. I haven’t met her.
But she is out there.
Lost: MuseFebruary 4, 2006