Each of us has our own source of writing inspiration, something that helps us create and mold our stories, an elusive creature we worship with cult-like devotion.
No, I’m not talking about Richard Armitage. I am talking about a muse. Or in my case, Muse, capitalized because it’s her title, her calling, her raison d’etre, the reason she can be such a pain in the–
My Muse is Endora. (For the young ones out there, she’s the temperamental mother in the TV show Bewitched. For the rest of you, thank you for your sympathy.)
Endora is the perfect storm of haughtiness, disdain, and tough love. During her unpredictable visits, I count myself lucky when she remembers to call me Donna instead of Durwood.
If there is anyone who is more confident of their contrary opinions, I haven’t met them yet. She’ll bark out a laugh when I startle her with something funny (especially if I didn’t MEAN for it to be funny). She’ll wrinkle her nose and sniff as if the litter box is overflowing when I’ve offended her storytelling sensibilities.
She’s also incredibly surprised when I create something that amuses her. I live for those rare moments when her heavily penciled eyebrows shoot up with astonished admiration. She’s miserly with her praise, as if each encouraging word causes a sharp pain in her soul, but I make her give until it hurts.
She’s a witch with a capital B, but I’m driven to please her. And she knows it.
Endora loves her job, but she’s also flighty, and fickle, and rather capricious about when she will actually do it. She is incapable of keeping to a regular schedule, so I’ve quit suggesting it. If I accidentally bore her, there’s a snap of fingers and a puff of smoke, and I’m instantly alone, staring at a blinking cursor on the computer screen, wondering how to lure the insufferable wench back.
What I usually do is tap away at the keyboard, resigning myself to the fact that I’m going to have to do this writing thing on my own for a little while. Somehow the mundane task of typing entices Endora. Maybe she’s planning to thump me on the head for waking her from her beauty nap. Or maybe she’s come to warn me of the hex with my name on it if I don’t stop trying to write solo.
I’m never sure WHY this technique brings her back. I doubt she knows either. But it does. The next thing I know, she’s looking over my shoulder, snorting with derision, and then I hear a muttered, “I suppose that part’s not too horrid.”
It’s hard to tell which of us is the most surprised by her grudging approval.
The tricky part is figuring out WHAT makes Endora happy, because, as with any diva, it’s never the same thing twice. If she adores chocolate one day, and the words flow after I’ve presented her with the most exquisite confections ever made. . .the next time she’ll take one bite of the same stuff and spit it out as if I’d given her a clod of dirt.
If I take a nap to deal with the heartbreak of her desertion, she plops down next to me, whispering tantalizing plot points in my ear until I am wide awake, frantic to give her my undivided attention again.
There’s some sort of magic in this partnership of ours, and I’ve quit trying to figure out the dysfunctional workings of it. Ultimately she seems proud of my efforts, and I like to believe she wouldn’t hang around if she didn’t get something out of the experience. (I don’t want to even contemplate how many other unfortunate writers she torments on her daily rounds. We could probably have an annual convention.)
Yet, as contrary as the old gal is, I can’t imagine what my writing life would be like without her. I do my best to amuse her, and she returns the favor, in her own inimitable fashion.
So tell me about your muse. How do you keep your muse happy? How does he/she reward you for your efforts?
P.S. Endora insisted I mention the latest review Lord Midnight received: a Top Pick rose from Romance Reader at Heart. We're both thrilled!