“Oh, for a muse of fire that would ascend
The brightest heaven of invention!”
(William Shakespeare, HENRY V)
Yesterday, I sat in the darkened hall, the words of Shakespeare filling the room.
My job, to wrangle young fairies and make sure they didn’t miss their cues, was really a distraction from what I wanted to do. I wanted to write.
So I did. I took out the draft of chapter three and a blue pen. I sat and scribbled all over the pages, in handwriting that would later be almost unintelligible. Perhaps my focus should have been on the business at hand, but I hadn’t really felt like part of this production since I went to my first rehearsal the day after we got back from our summer adventure. I also have been very blocked when it comes to writing, especially this novel which still confuses me in terms of genre. I don’t quite know what I am writing.
“Thus, with child to speak, and helpless in my throes, biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite: Fool! said my muse to me, look in thy heart, and write.”
(Sir Philip Sidney,
When the muse hits, its time to write. She actually made her first appearance on Friday, when I took myself to a nearby bookstore/coffee shop in the hopes that I would get something done on a day when I couldn’t seem to accomplish much of anything. I brought drafts of my first two chapters, as well as my plot summary and some random scenes that may or may not appear in the final product, and began reading everything over, making minor edits, in the hopes that somehow I would reconnect with the story and find my way back in.
I keep saying to myself, “focus on telling a good story, the rest will work itself out.”
This time my muse agreed, “Write a good story, Lisa. Don’t worry so much about marketing and publishing. Focus on telling the story you need to tell, the story you want to tell. Break the rules if you want to. There are no rules. Just write!”
There are no rules. Just write. (I’ve read that phrase often on Spirit Lights the Way, but it’s taking on new meaning for me at the moment.)
I realized that I was trying to write something that didn’t feel true, but the foundations of truth were still there. I scrapped my original plans for chapter three and put my pen to yellow pad to follow a new idea. 2 1/2 hours later I had written over 2000 words and was late for heading home.
Who knows where inspiration comes from. Perhaps it arises from desperation. Perhaps it comes from the flukes of the universe, the kindness of the muses.
I got home that evening, but the muse wasn’t finished with me yet. I brought my computer out in the living room so that I would at least be near my family, and typed those words into the computer, making minor changes as I went. Those are the words I then worked over in the darkened theatre yesterday.
This morning my early morning thoughts turned immediately to the story, but surprising to the beginning of Chapter 4, not to Chapter 3. I didn’t want to lose the ideas, so I jumped out of bed and began to write. 756 words. Not a whole chapter, but the direction I need to go. Then I went back and made minor changes to chapters 1 & 2 before doing the major changes to chapter 3.
I finished that, but my muse wasn’t done with me yet. She said now its time to blog. So, obedient to her will, I am blogging.
What do you do when your muse strikes at unexpected moments?