Posted by: jeannineatkins | June 2, 2008

No Sleepy Muses

Joyce moyer_girl just wrote about trying to keep herself in a chair and finish a revision, while her muses carry on about ideas for a new book. Apparently they’re full of ideas, but not for the work at hand. Joyce tries to court this chatty bunch back on task with fried green tomatoes, promises of a trip one day. At last she kind of spun them into dizzy submission or fatigue by making them trail after her while she mowed the lawn.

I love her lawn-mowing muses, love their naughtiness in teasing her about a new novel instead of helping her with the one at her elbow. This is, I suppose, like how absolutely cute someone else’s renegade toddler is. But I recognize that my muses are a pretty distractable bunch, too. Ideas come to them and me willy-nilly (and where did that word come from? It’s not mine). This seems the purpose of all those random folders stuck here and there on my computer. I try not to scream at or swat my muses. I listen with as much respect as I can muster. I patiently give them a new folder, and put down some of their words. This may take a few minutes or a few hours or sometimes a few days. Then we all feel a bit unburdened, and can get back to the work that needs to be finished.

If I give my muses that little bit of attention, they’re kinder. They sit with me longer and one day, I promise, finding it best to keep our relationship civil, certain folders will get opened. (When the mac-n-cheese is in the oven.)

How do you treat your muses?



  1. It sounds like I’ve been pretty stern with my muses lately, doesn’t it. But I think they’ve been frustrated at my resistance even opening the door for them, let alone LISTENING. Finally, they’re saying, finally–she gives us a few days. They came and they delivered.
    So, I guess, instead of being strict with myself, I’m going to see it as giving those muses the attention and respect they deserve. 🙂

  2. Whatever it takes, but that sounds like a sweet way of looking at it!

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