“Too Many Voices”

I like song lyrics. Sometimes, they get me thinking and then I like to dissect those thoughts like the Zapruder film.

I don’t wanna wait
For our lives to be over.
Will it be yes, or will it be

Let me tell you something about my Muse, the little shit.

My relationship to it is best expressed on the Tumblr I use as a notebook of the things I feed it. I call it the place…

Where I strap my muse to a chair like Alex in A Clockwork Orange, pin its eyes open, and force-feed its brain until it does what it’s fucking told.

Yes, I brainwash my Muse, typically by waterboarding it every so often. Not too much, though. Like Nice Guy Eddie says in Reservoir Dogs, “If you fucking beat this prick long enough, he’ll tell you he started the goddamn Chicago fire, now that don’t necessarily make it fucking so!”

Some might say that’s harsh. I know there are folks who feed and care for and cradle their precious Muse. They are not wrong to do so. And if it works for them, I’m very glad! But call me as delusional as the folks who think the “enhanced interrogation” techniques at Gitmo actually work–I’ll be damned if they don’t work on my Muse, at least as well as cradling it ever did!

I’ve made a lot of progress with my Muse over the past few years. It does need a bit of “encouraging” every now and again, but it seems to be spitting out ideas when I want them, and a lot of times, even when I don’t want them! The important thing though is that I do not wait for my Muse to give it up before I write. That’d be stupid.

As Octavia Butler noted, “…habit is more dependable than inspiration.” I’ve learned that ideas really are a dime a dozen and that what my Muse will not do most times is form those ideas into actual stories for me. Once in awhile, maybe. But the hard truth is, my little bastard of a Muse really doesn’t care if I finish my stories or not! No, that’s squarely up to me, and the only way that’s done is by sitting down day after day and writing, with my Muse’s waterboard right next to me, pouring and writing, whether it gives me reliable and actionable intel or not!

Because I absolutely do not want to be one of those writers who bitches and moans about being uninspired and who get no writing done because of it.

4 thoughts on ““Too Many Voices””

  1. Stephen King says the same thing. He sits down and writes until his muse shows up. It's the habit, after all.

    So, uh, I agree. (Though I'm not to the point of beating my muse yet. She's been nice to me thus far. And yes, my muse is a woman. It works for me.)

  2. It's just that of all the writers I admire, love to read, and try to emulate, I haven't found one with a romantic notion of "the Muse." In fact, a lot of my "process" (I hate how that word gets romanticized more than "The Muse") is more and more grounded.

    That's not to say I don't believe in a Muse or that everyone's not entitled to whatever Process works for them. I just know what seems to work for me right now… it's that picture of Gunnery Sgt. Hartmann from Full Metal Jacket screaming, "You had best keep writing, or I will tear off your head and shit down your neck!!"

  3. LOL! I'm in the "fortunate" position of having a Muse who's addicted to speed and wields a big heavy hammer. I susect she's got some Jouton in her, rather than Hellenistic Greece. When she's on form, she makes my life hell trying to keep up, or at least take notes so I can fill in the blanks later. Then, she goes away just long enough to make me start looking over my shoulder in the fashion usually reserved for spies and paranoid schitzophrenics.

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