Monday, September 17, 2007

My Miserable Muse

Is there a device somewhere - a wiry contraption (preferably invisible) that you could attach to your scalp to extract all those wild beautiful scary heroic sad lovely images travelling at the speed of thought through your brain, transform them into words and put them on paper? Nothing like that?
I guess not… (sigh)
Or maybe a typewriter like the one in Stephen King’s “The Tommyknockers”? No?
A magical laptop? Please?! Yes?! No?… Maybe?…
Unh-unh, nope, no sirree, no such thing…
Then, what can we do, those of us who are hit by inspiration at the most inappropriate moments – like when we are at work, or when we have to guide our children with their homework, or when we do the cooking, or the dishes, or the raking of leaves – anytime but that half hour at the end of the day when all the rest has somehow calmed down and we have a moment to ourselves. Those of us who cannot spend their day in coffee shops writing, or just noticing things?
Steal, then. A minute here, a few words there, an idea scribbled on a sticky note during a soul-killing meeting or while enduring the excruciating yackety-yak of a co-worker (this happens daily, and for the whole day, and no, I can’t really protest because technically the guy is my boss).
I even thought of a recorder for when I’m in the car, but then I don’t like much to talk – I like to write.
So, this is it. Slowly, furtively, too slowly, my hands, my fingers waltz on the keyboard. Rarely at the right time, always in a hurry. I can see, hear, feel, smell, taste in my head. I live the story. The only problem is to capture its shape of words before it disappears into the smoke of oblivion.
My lovely broody muse (I must not upset her, battered as she is!) still grabs my hand and guides me – like these days, when I’m rewriting a story for which the endearing Minx has offered invaluable advice. But with my daily forced betrayals aren’t we heading, oh, so straight, so inexorably towards that… what is that dull shapeless thing not so far ahead? I’m afraid it’s the nasty grey wall of writer’s block.

10 comments:

colleen said...

I have a writing challenge that might put you right again, or at perhaps distract you further. Come see if you want to give it a shot. The keyboard awaits. Bring a pencil.

Taffiny said...

I like this very much, not that it happens to you, but how well you bring the experience down to paper, setting it gently, yet firmly.

It is like that for me too, inspiration seems somehow attached to the inability to go work on the piece at the moment, I have to be busy doing something else, or about to walk out the door. My only solution is notebooks. The big one and the little one, I drag them everywhere, tucking them into purses, tossing them on the seat beside me in the car, setting one on the evergreen groundcover while I work outside (I would lose sticky post its). Jott jott jott, horribly hard to read when I do it while driving. But I am afraid I will miss something, forget something, lose something, if I don't do this. (like that coworker- boss you have, droning on till he drums it out of you, drowning out that beautiful inner whisper, a song you would much rather sit and listen to. Yes set it down on your sticky post its, don't lose little threads of inspiration, or your soul, to prattle)

Of course now I must type up those notebooks.

Please do invent the magic typewriter/laptop thingy, you'll become ever so rich, and both would be and actual writers everywhere will adore you (very possibly worship you even), and your wild beautiful scary heroic sad lovely mind.

Why are the images so real, yet they do seem to float away when one tries to capture them on paper? More like rainbows than butterflies.

I am glad you are working on your story (rewrite, wow). I hope your muse guides you away from the grey of writers block. Following the bird, and finding the snail, on the daily grind trail.

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

aha, you see, this is why I am always armed with one or more notebooks - to take frantic scribbles wherever I am. Admittedly, I don't scribble whilst driving, though heaven knows, I've been tempted...
I read a wonderful line today - it'll appear on the old blog in a day or two - writer's block - when the people living in your head won't talk to you. Perhaps you need to invite them and the muse out for a drink.
Don't worry Vesper, the block will pass - it always does - when the words and the story refuse to be contained a moment longer. Go with the flow, honour the process. Stories have never heard of deadlines - only us humans have - we invented them after all - another human construct.

Minx said...

There is no such thing as writers block - only believing in it makes it real. If there is a pause, it means it's time for a coffee break and attend to something else for a while.

As for writing things down - my kitchen wall will attest to my need to get something down. Notebooks everywhere, especially by the bed and various bits of skin with the odd key word on it also attest to the madness of writing.

c.s. said...

couldn't agree more. now i find the little time i have in between chores and work and events to pen down certain thoughts or rantings. still adjusting. i'm glad i'm not alone here.

Vesper said...

Thank you, Colleen, I'll take a look. I always like a challenge.:-)

Taffiny, thank you, you warmed my heart, made me laugh in the best of ways, while I imagined you and your notebooks, everywhere, all the time, even while you're driving! I too carry with me, maybe not a notebook always but certainly a few printed pages of the latest written things. Even if I don't scribble on them, it feels reassuring to keep them next to me.

Vanilla, thank you so much for your encouragement! "Frantic scribbles" - oh, I like that, I could imagine you doing it! What I'm afraid of is that these ideas that I (still) have will wither away if I don't give them more time. You're right about deadlines - I can't help it though to think of age as a huge deadline... :-)

Minx, "the madness of writing" - how well you put it! :-) And even on "various bits of skin" - that is superb!!! Thank you!

Thank you, CS. You know you're not alone! But at least your work is related to your writing passion...

Pearl said...

I put up a few links at my Livejoural blog for prompts to avoid writer's block...

Jon M said...

Minx is right, take a break, jot it down...actually, I have to do just that right now...

Wilf said...

You'll be fine, I'm sure. A walk usually helps me.
Addy

Vesper said...

Thank you, Pearl, I'll take a look.

You're right, Jon! So... reading this gave you ideas that you have to jot down? Hmmm...

Addy, thank you for the encouragement. And for visiting!