Aoede’s Influence

My mind feels nothing lately. I sit here, at a computer desk, fingers poised over keys, typing emptiness.

“Ah, you have writer’s block,” you may observe. I love to disagree, but I feel the word block indicates that there was some flow previously.

In considering my lack of creative energy or inspiration, I reflect on Muses. I’ve been reflecting since reading over Mike Allegra’s and D. Wallace Peach’s characterizations of Muses. The former described his as an ice cream-stealing rat (an intelligent, domesticated one), the latter claiming hers hired a mercenary.

Mine, in the meantime, is beyond fashionably late.

She or he or it is not entirely necessary for writing. However, I need something to create what lays before you, or what fills the space between pictures of my content-writing job.

I try. I do.

The ceremony to call upon a Muse can be much like a séance, conjuring, or sacrificial ceremony. “Here, take my children,” I say to the television screen. “And, here are the five pounds I managed to lose last month,” I tell our chocolate stash. I light the computer’s candelabra and pray.

Despite my best movie marathons or sugar-splurges, my efforts usually summon Muse’s distantly-related cousin’s best friend’s significant other: Motivation.

And even she often shows up hungover. It’s time for something stronger.

Before turning to literal flames or pentagrams, I turn to my gym bag. Inside, twisted in on itself, rests my mP3 player and headphones. Besides the creative gifts we enjoy, headphones are the greatest blessing a distracted artist may ever receive.

Properly attired, I may focus on the influence of Aoede instead of the distractions of everything.

Stephenie Meyer, that author who wrote something a few years back, was one of my favorites to read. No, not her actual published works (at least, not openly.) I am referring to her honest descriptions of writing, publishing, creation, etc.

I can relate to her, since both of us have at least three boys. Did you know she also used music? That she has a playlist posted?

As mentioned at the end of the lame, rambling autobiography (nobody got that far, did they?), I can’t write without music. This, combined with the fact that writing Twilight was a very visual, movie-like experience, prompted me to collect my favorite Twilight songs into a sort of soundtrack for the book. This list is not chiseled in granite; it transforms now and again. But, for the moment, here’s the music I hear in my head while reading the book. (stepheniemeyer.com)

Her website has songs for Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn.

We’ll need to talk more about tempting Muses in other fashions. Perhaps you even know a secret incantation.

In the meantime, what are your favorite tracks to play for inspiration?

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“…Don’t be afraid, don’t be daunted. Just do your job. Continue to show up for your piece of it, whatever that might be. If your job is to dance, do your dance. If the divine, cock-eyed Genius assigned to your case decides to let some sort of wonderment be glimpsed for just one moment, through your efforts, then Olé. But if not, do your dance anyhow, and Olé to you nonetheless.”

-Elizabeth Gilbert, Your Elusive Creative Genius TED Talk

Ready or Not -Ah, Forget It

Perfectionism is the writer’s block of my life.

“I think I’ll clean the house,” I tell myself. Sometimes I say it out loud, confidently. I feel motivated and self-assured when I do so. I feel that nothing can stop whatever I want to do. I know I’m baiting my old enemy, taunting him, and I thrill in the power of supposed victory.

“Door decoration for my kid’s anti-drug week at school? I can do that,” I tell a neighbor. If I say it in public, there is more culpability. The encroaching hesitancy I’ve moved on to will have less power. Strength in numbers, I assure myself.

Maybe I’ll write a book, I think to myself timidly, as if staying quiet will save me. I should know by now there is no safe place when I’m feeling down. He’s been laughing for a while, through all the resistance. He knows the true battles, and that he’s been the ultimate victor.

“What’s wrong?” The few concerned who are left in my life ask me. They don’t understand the reason I’m in bed, or in the closet, or on the couch mindlessly distracting from thought and life.

Perfectionism knows.

He’s reclining comfortably in the disused spaces of my mind; the spaces he’s artfully cleared of annoying furnishings like deep feelings, motivations, ambitions, and inspiration.

Nothing disturbs or demands him. He stretches out to watch the video game flashing before his host’s eyes.

“Ah,” he says, sipping brain fluid from a convenience store cup, “Perfect.”