Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Post-slump Stuffing of the Muse

After the celebrating, and once my husband was busy with work again and I was distraction-free, the slump caught up to me. I have been left alone with my emotions and thoughts, and they haven't all been pretty. There was some end-of-project depression, followed by a haze of white noise, then a persistent prodding from that nebulous core of creativity I call the muse.

The translation goes a little something like this:

Muse: I'm hungry.

Me: But the novel...we should start those edits.

Muse: Running on fumes here.

Me: Or that other project. That novella isn't fixing itself.

Muse: (Arms crossed) I can arrange a hunger strike. I believe you refer to that as "writer's block."

Me: We went out for dinner. It was a lovely celebration. Now can we—

Muse: How about a redaction of all future novel ideas?

I dangled The Shadow Rising, book four of The Wheel of Time series by the late, great Robert Jordan, in front of my muse. It gobbled up 200 pages and came up for air.

[Author aside: I've been rereading the entire series, slowly, in anticipation of the final novel being released next year. I learned early in my writing life to not read Jordan while writing. He was a master at making epic fantasy look easy, and I adore his world and his huge cast of characters. His influence was part of the problem in my first 1,300-page novel. Never again.]

Then the muse caught the scent of Star Trek: Voyager, a show I've been rewatching in the evenings. A half-dozen episodes devoured, including, sadly, the final in the series, and no sense of satiation from the muse.

[Author aside: What's not to love about Captain Janeway and a crew of explorers cast adrift far from home? The themes are my favorites: a strong, principled leader; teamwork makes the whole greater than the parts; friendship and camaraderie are equally as important as other accomplishments; work hard, play hard; and hard work is rewarded by the whole team, but most importantly, by the strong, principled leader. Yeah, those are some specific-sounding themes, but I've found them on a number of shows that hold special places in my heart: Firefly, Star Trek: The Next Generation, The West Wing, Studio 54, and In Plain Sight.

It's also a show with several strong female characters. It's gratifying to watch a show where the women talk the same level of science as the men, and where the officers are ranked by skill, not by gender or race (or species). I'm a sucker for—]

Muse: Less chatter.

Me: I was just telling them—

Muse: Let me put it in Star Trek terms: This is not an efficient use of your time. Resistance is futile. Follow the prime directive and FEED ME.

Me: What? What do you want?

Muse: More. More! ... Psychics? Find me something on psychics!

Me: Where am I going to find something on psychics?

Muse: Redacting...

Help, please. Anyone know any good books on psychics? The real-deal people, memoirs, etc. Any suggestions?

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