Muse, schmooze! I’ve got credit card debt to pay down and an agent impatient for my next proposal. I don’t have the luxury of waiting for some ephemeral muse to inspire me; I’ve got two adolescents hurtling head-on toward college tuitions in the not-too-distant future.
The truth is, I never thought about the concept of a muse. Never imagined that I had some sort of artistic angel sitting on my shoulder. I always just had to write. I did it for years as a hobby. Secretly at first – a closet writer – and then became just a bit more bold, sending off a few pieces here and there. But that was always an afterthought. The writing itself was the thing I felt compelled to do.
When I was a kid, these compulsions would emerge as poems that I’d leave on my parents bed at night. Then later on, the usual angst-filled prose that filled my journals, the occasional love poem dedicated to the heart-throb of the moment. The poetry eventually tapered off. And then came the political and social commentaries – essays and op-ed pieces that I still submit to my local papers and even a few radio commentaries that got aired on our local public radio station. I don’t think it had anything to do with a muse, per se, but these pieces all HAD to be written. When one of these pieces was bubbling up inside of me, I swear, I could go without food, water or sex longer than I could go without writing. Often I’d sit down to write – not even sure what it was I was going to say until the thing I NEEDED to say emerged, perfectly formed on the page.
And then there was the book. People ask why it took so long to write the book. And the real question is, why oh why, against all odds, did I keep at it for as long as I did and not just throw in the towel? And the answer is, I HAD to write this book. It would not let me go. I don’t know … is that a muse?
So now, as I consider my career after THE BOOK I HAD TO WRITE, I wonder what happens next? Oh, there are books brewing – four or five of them in various stages (and yes, if my agent is reading this, the proposal for Book 2 is first among them). But this is an unfamiliar feeling for me: writing without that urgency of something that I just have to write.
Unless of course, you consider the bills, the kids’ college tuitions and the like. I don’t know. That can be my muse?
Gotta get to work now.