Last Thursday morning, my Muse woke me a full two hours before I normally get up to make an announcement: “You WILL write this. NOW.”
A couple of phrases floated through my mind, a barely formed thought. But as my Muse continued poking my shoulder while I swatted him away and tried to go back to sleep, more words kept popping into my head. The idea began to come together.
I rubbed my eyes and grabbed the notebook and pen I keep on my bedside table. I began to realize I was inside the head of one of my protagonists, feeling her angst over a failing relationship.
So I went to the living room and scribbled this:
I reach out for you, but find myself grabbing empty handfuls of air. Your words, which used to flow around me like the comforting water of a familiar brook, have become drips from a leaky faucet. I can’t decide whether to keep banging on the tap, trying to force it open, or to fix the leak and silence it forever. My desire to drink deeply straight from your lips never ceases. But for now, I can only hold my parched tongue under the faucet. I carefully catch each and every unsatisfying drop as it falls.
The poetic style of this piece differs from the lighter tone of the story my unhappy protagonist inhabits. So it won’t wind up as part of her written tale. But I understand her better because of writing this. And it became a nice little piece of its own, even making an appearance here at Six Sentences.
I recently discovered Six Sentences, dedicated to stories told in—you guessed it—six sentences. I’ve enjoyed reading the work there, diverse pieces with quality writing. I briefly considered trying to write something for them. Then I filed that thought in the back of my mind: behind work, this blog and wondering what’s on TV tonight. But I must have unintentionally sent a memo to my Muse. Because the piece he woke me to write turned out to be exactly six sentences.
What an amazing thing a Muse is! Or creative inspiration, or the subconscious mind or whatever you prefer to call it. I woke to write, almost fully formed, a piece that both fits into this 6-sentence structure and gives me insight into one of my characters!
My paltry role in the creative process consisted of actually getting up and taking dictation from my Muse. Not a small feat for a slight insomniac who loves to sleep in! Then I suffered through a sleepy day because of the early wake-up. A positive tradeoff: a little drowsy grumpiness for a moment of creative inspiration.
Now that I read my 6-sentence piece again, I realize it could be about me and my Muse and our sometimes fractured relationship.
Maybe my Muse was the one sending a memo to me…
Copyright @ Sandy Ackers, Strangling My Muse: Struggling to Live a Creative Life in a Stressful World, http://www.stranglingmymuse.com