I don’t have a muse. Instead, I have a deadline, stress, three kids, ambition, a mid-life crisis, and an inferiority complex to spur me on. The trick for me isn’t tapping into all that–it’s shutting it out.
A writer I really like said at a talk recently that she writes best from a place of great anger or great love, and that really resonated with me. For me, I think, I write best from a place of melancholy, a place of sadness, a place of elegy.
I know there are some writers who can trot off to cafe for a civilized morning’s work, but I’m not one of them. For me, writing feels dangerous. I can go to some dark places, and it’s not always pretty. I might cry when I’m working. I might dredge up some unpleasant stuff. It’s certainly not something I want to do in a crowd. I mean, you wouldn’t stroll into Starbuck’s, and strip off, would you? For me, writing is kind of the same thing.
Lately, in a desparate effort to finish Book 2 in a private place where my kids cannot find me and pester me with nosebleeds/My Little Pony custody disputes/unpleasant surprises in their pants, I have taken to sneaking over to my parent’s house and tiptoeing down to their basement.
It’s perfect. Quiet. Child-free, and, most importantly, totally subterreanean. All the nasties are free to come out. I probably could write nude down there if I wanted to, but, instead, I’m trying to put the stripped-down stuff on the page.
If I do have a muse, I don’t like to think about it too much. Creatures born in the basement are probably best left there.