“But the fact is, she [the muse] won’t be summoned. She alights when it damn well pleases her. She falls in love with one artist, then deserts him for another.”Erica Jong, Seducing the Demon: Writing for My Life
“The muse is not an angelic voice that sits on your shoulder and sings sweetly. The muse is the most annoying whine. The muse isn’t hard to find, just hard to like – she follows you everywhere, tapping you on the shoulder, demanding that you stop doing whatever else you might be doing and pay attention to her.”
He appears in many guises,
filling every corner of my dreams,
his darkness matching the demons
that linger beneath the seams
of the fears I seek to bury
yet no matter how hard I try
he comes without knocking, unbidden
like a swarm of locusts darkening the sky
And after he gets what he wants from me
stripping me of everything I once held dear
it’s a release that’s like no other,
where nothing else dares come near.
And so I leave the door wide open
of this little cage I still cling to,
waiting patiently for him to return,
gracing me with a madness that speaks so true.
Why do you have to be such a tough writing month? With a deadline looming in five months (I know, five months is a long time), I’m facing a tough rewrite ahead for the sequel of my book, Loving Ashe.
I already wrote the sequel last year, all 110K words of it, so technically, I should be done. And when I serialized it on Wattpad for five months, they even included it in their After Dark app, a curated list of stories suited for reading, well, after dark. And I know, I know, it’s “only” Wattpad, but I think I wrote a good story, one that even left readers polarized.
After all, it’s not easy seeing your favorite character fall off his pedestal. A leopard, after all, can’t hide its spots, so naturally a few readers were upset. But who was it that said, kill your darlings?
So the rewrite is a tough one, because a part of me does NOT want to rewrite the damn thing. I actually do like the way I’d written it – women’s fiction with elements of romance written from the male character’s point of view – but somehow, the business part of me thinks that I need to change it to fit the trends of the moment, putting more focus on the romance and the kink and the drama.
Who cares if it’s me selling out my characters and the story so that I can make it easier for the prospective reader to click the BUY button. I am selling out, so who am I kidding?
But it’s fizzling, though I tell myself I probably just need more coffee at 9:30 pm and maybe the muse will start talking to me again. But he probably isn’t thrilled to see his story rewritten and his writer selling him out, and all this while other muses and their storylines dance in my head, taunting me.
So I guess what I’m saying, February, is that for the first time in a long time, my muse and I aren’t on speaking terms and it’s driving me crazy. I finished rewriting Chapter 2 and was feeling quite proud of myself; I even added a bit of a sex scene in there for that person who told me I should have just had Ashe and Riley have sex in the elevator (Chapter 2) and called the novel done. So this development is definitely a win…right?
Only it doesn’t feel like one, not when there’s this huge struggle going on inside my head (or I need more caffeine at 9:30 pm) and the muse isn’t speaking to me at all. Or maybe that’s my intuition telling me, NO! Don’t sell out!
Maybe I should just stop for a while and listen, and hear what the muse has to say. I don’t want to write to market (which is what this rewrite is all about), at least not with this story, not when it consumed me half of last year to write it and the words were literally singing from my fingers, but now the thought of rewriting it is consuming me for all the wrong reasons.
So, yup, February, it’s a tough month for writer-me. But I sure hope everyone else is having it a lot easier.
I’m living my dream job,
though some days can be quite hard
it’s lonely when you’re neck deep into it
‘specially when you’re channeling the Bard
there are days when all I drink is coffee
maybe add some fancy liqueur, too
and then it’s time for dinner
that’s when a glass of wine will have to do
sometimes the muses don’t shut up
and sometimes they don’t speak at all
sometimes I wonder if I’m just crazy
and ask myself why I had to answer “the call”
but I still wouldn’t trade this job for anything
not when I’m having so much fun
I’m in love with words, and I cannot lie
I’ll keep doing this till my time here is done.
“When a writer falls in love with you, you can never die.”
I guess when someone you love dies naturally
everything just slows down –
today her heart rate slowed, her breathing stopped
and just like that, she was gone
but in my heart she’ll live on forever
even immortalized on the page
I just can’t help it for she was always there for me
the sweetest woman, a gentle sage
and in all my books, I always see her
but she lived such a life, and without fear
that writing her in just comes naturally
and as imperfect as my stories are
typos still left unnoticed on the page
it doesn’t matter now, not anymore
she’ll live forever; she’ll never age
I have way too many muses, and not of the model or actor kind, thank goodness (they do come in handy when I write so I’m not discounting that kind of muse) but things and people around me.
And when the words start to flow
there’s nothing I can do
to stop them,
and in the morning
when the sun rises,
it starts all over again.
*That first version, done while still in bed, was so terrible. Thank goodness there’s the edit button.
A meditation on my fears. This is one of those “quick studies”, as a way to study a feature or features I like in a face – but even now, I can see the flaws here, like the pen failing to catch the beautiful lines of his nose or his jaw line drifting far too wide.
Yet if I dwell on those flawed marks of my pen, I lose the big picture. I think he’s still beautiful, even if I failed to capture the original lines. Much like my life. Sometimes I focus too much on the shortcomings to see the beauty in the whole package.
Garrett Neff from the latest #NeimanMarcus editorial
Well, he was bound to make an appearance within the pages of my art journal, though I didn’t get him quite right. Still, it’s nice to get that out of my system, especially since he was the one who got me writing again, after a ten year hiatus. Why the hiatus? Well, life happened. I was miserable though I didn’t know why – till I started writing again, and the house hasn’t been tidy since.
So if you don’t recognize him (it’s hard because I drew the eyes too large), it’s Richard Armitage, from one of his first selfies on Twitter last year. I should have picked a better picture, but it is what it is.
Today also marks the day that someone on Wattpad was brave enough to tell me what was not quite right with my novel in progress, Loving Ashe. I basically took the cowardly way out with the ending. Instead of writing the ending I really wanted, which was quite like “killing” my darling protagonist, I made everything just right and perfect. No whoa! you didn’t! factor definitely. And I’m glad she pointed it out because it’s been bugging me all this time – why I took an otherwise perfect novel and gave it such a blah ending when I already had three chapters of that finale done and dusted.
But at least it’s still a work in progress though. It just means maybe this time, I’m writing the ending as it was meant to be. And wouldn’t you know it? That novel started out as a Daily Prompt writing challenge right here on my blog exactly two years ago – with Richard Armitage in mind, no less!