My Muse

I guess my muse has sorta gone AWOL.

These columns seem to be getting fewer and farther in between. It’s not through lack of trying. Many times do I open a black document and stare at it for a long, long time before giving up and thinking, “Tomorrow I’ll get it.”

It’s not so hard to figure, really. In 32  years come October, if I wrote two of these a week that would be more than 3,300. I didn’t write two a week all the time, so give it 2300. That’s an awful lot of ideas and words, friends and neighbors.

Still, I can’t quite explain why my muse hasn’t been musing much of late. There’s a lot of stuff I want to say, but I’ve grown weary of the political stuff, having come to the inevitable conclusion that having to rally for the lesser of two evils is a losing proposition at best. As I quoted Treebeard from Lord of the Rings once, I am not altogether on anyone’s side, because no one is altogether on my side.

Muses are fickle things. They come and go as they please and often leave the door open so all the bugs and stray cats can get in. Muses have bad manners. They hit you when you’re trying to sleep on a work night and force you to get up and write so that you’re dead tired all the next day, or they stand mute in a corner grinning at you maddeningly when you’re under the gun to get something, anything down on a deadline. A muse is a spoiled brat, but when they behave they can be simply angelic.

While it’s always easy to throw down some heartfelt words about wildness, mountains, creeks, fly fishing and puppy dogs, I don’t want to overdo it, at least, I don’t want to bore the heck out of everyone who doesn’t give a jolly rip about such things.

It comes and goes. We all have friends like that, or family. They drop by unannounced and eat everything in the fridge then vanish again until the next unpredictable visit. It’s not that we don’t enjoy their appearances, but when we’re sitting there and there’s nothing on the tube worth watching and no place worth going, those visitors are nowhere to be found under heaven and earth.

My cohort over here, Vanessa, has a sign on her wall above her desk reading, “Writer’s block is a fancy term made up by whiners so they can have an excuse to drink alcohol,” a quote attributed to Steve Martin. Luckily, scotch does little to stir the creative juices and I generally just go to sleep, accomplishing nothing.

But I have been getting some work done on other projects, though mostly on weekends. Working on a dramatic script, for one thing. Also my co-author and I are moving smartly along with the third volume of our fantasy novel series. This third volume, entitled Fortresses, was started in 1991 and abandoned late that same year when our lives took rather abrupt turns away from writing and each other. So here we are, 21 years later, having published the first two volumes and returning to the third. Oddly, we fell right back into writing together and our genre as easily as if not a day had passed in between.

My muse is apparently more a fan of speculative fiction newspaper columns.

But such things always pass. At least, they always have before. I imagine, with fall coming, I’ll be making a trip into the hills and valleys again soon, and like it or not, that always feeds my muse.

So we’ll try again next week. Who knows?

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