I lost my muse a several months ago. She went wild and crazy on me in June and then shortly disappeared after that. She was gone, completely out of existence. Her voice no longer chattered incessantly in my mind. In her absence and out of boredom, I buried myself in life and work. I lost touch with writing as I grieved her abrupt departure.
I know not to where she went, and by October I didn’t care. I gave up her ghost. Family situations arose, projects at work grew larger, and I slept when there was nothing else happening. Writing did not exist, aside from the daily emails and technical documents. Creativity was dead.
And I continued to morn. I cried for her inspiration. I cried for her voice.
Then one day towards the end of January, as I was driving to work and listening to NPR, I became drawn into a story that Eat, Pray, Love author, Elizabeth Gilbert, was retelling. She described a tale of a musician who was stuck in eight lanes of famed L.A. traffic. As this musician was minding his own business and staring absentmindedly out the windshield, the inspiration of a fantastic song popped into his head. The song tumbled through his mind, down his arms, and into his fingers as he drummed out a rhythm on the steering wheel while singing the lyrics aloud to himself in his car. Then, he abruptly stopped and began frantically looking around the front seats of his vehicle for a pen, a piece of paper, something to write down his lyrical masterpiece. Alas, his search was in vain, for no pen could be found. He screamed out loud to the muse inside his heart, “I sit in a studio for eight hours a day, why do you not appear when I am sitting at the piano? Do not bother me when I am driving and have no way to capture you.”
And I started to chortle. I laughed so hard that tears streamed down my cheeks. I laughed so hard that I had to pull off the road until I could catch my breath and see clearly.
Here is a man whose muse continually shows up at the most inopportune moments, while mine completely vacated my life.
Then the world stilled and everything around me went silent. That is when I realized I needed to gain control of my muse. Instead of allowing her to waltz in and out my life, showing her face whenever it pleased her, I needed to force her to present when it pleased ME.
And I beckoned her. I demanded she show her face. I demanded she make her presence known and provide me with inspiration.
She may have first sought me out, but now I am seeking her. I am demanding that she needs be a part of my daily life.
And it worked.
She came back, waking me from a deep sleep last night. In a stupor I stumbled from my bed, moving hastily to the office where I scrambled to grab a pen and paper. Her sweet voice reverberated through my mind as I scrawled down what she had to say. Seven months of pend up creativity spewed all over the paper and next thing I know, I have gone through almost half a ream of printer paper. I spent five straight hours of writing down everything she had to tell me.
Staring at the flurry of script and holding my aching right hand, I graciously thanked her for returning. Then, I told her that she could give me inspiration whenever I am not working, sleeping, or driving. And that I would hunt her down if she ever disappeared again.
So the message to my writing friends is to gain control of your muse. Tell your muse when you want him or her to show up. Give your muse boundaries. They want boundaries. They want you to take control and force your creativity to suit your needs.