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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Living With A Stubborn Muse

The Muse. The source of one's artistic inspiration. Everyone has one, even if you don't know it, and every, single flipping one of them is stubborn. No exceptions. You get the urge to write, paint, draw, or however it is you express yourself at exactly the moment you don't have the time to do it. Or you sit down with plenty of time and nothing. The worst part is, we need the bloody things. Without them we'd have no music, no art, now writing. So what do you do? How do you deal with a stubborn muse? Well, to be honest, there isn't much you can do except wait. You try to force it and everything turns out to be utter crap. I've learned to deal with mine by oddly enough writing. Yes, writing. Whenever I feel a stuck I write me interacting with my muse, as follows :

The cat sized purple dragon lay sprawled out on the desk. He didn’t look up as the door opened and a girl charged into the room. She tossed backpack and jacket into a corner and then came to sit at the desk, staring at the dragon. He opened one eye to look up at her, a short chirp escaping his lips in greeting, and then closed his eye again. Shirak’s eyes popped wide open and let out an indignant shriek when the girl’s hands closed around him, lifting him from his napping place. She turned him over, lifted him over her head, inspected under his wing, his leg, tail.

“Where the heck is it?”

Every inch of his purple hide was examined. Finally after many high pitched protests from the small dragon, she set him back on the desk, where he extended his wings and hissed at her.

She folded her arms, pursing her lips. “Hmm, guess you don’t have an on/off switch after all.”

Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't but it almost always makes me feel better. So if you're stuck try it. Paint your muse, play some random notes in an ode to him, write a little scene. See what happens.

My muse and the main character of my second book, The Gathering coming out on July 20th, share their name. Here's a little taste of Shirak the character's story :

The sleek black limo rolled to a stop in front of the giant granite steps, and I opened the car door, not waiting to be assisted. I left my bags, knowing they would be brought in, likely to my old rooms. Once a room was claimed, it remained yours to use whenever you wished.

I hurried up the steps and into the manor house. With little conscious effort I walked the path to Calidan’s rooms. The hallway approaching his bed chambers was lined with sobbing Rikashi of all three remaining clans. Whatever troubles were brewing, sorrow was quelling it for the moment, at least here.

I paused at the closed double doors that led to his bedroom, needing a moment to make certain I was in control of myself. Before I could knock, the door swung inward on silent hinges. A golden-haired female stood on the other side.

“You must be Shirak,” she said with a sad smile. At my nod, she stepped aside. “He’s been asking for you. He hasn’t much time left.”

“There is nothing you can do for him?” I asked, assuming she was a Surion.

She shook her head. “All my powers cannot rescue a body ravaged by time, youngling. Go see him now.”

I nodded again and stepped into the bed chamber. It smelled of cinnamon, Earl Grey tea, and death. I did not think I would ever be able to drink Earl Grey again.

My feet made no sound on the thick carpet as I moved forward. Calidan’s son, Severick, rose from a chair in the corner, glaring at me as he left the room. I shook my head; that one had never liked me.

Calidan lay on an impressive gilded four-poster bed, his eyes closed, and for a moment I feared I was too late. But then I saw the slow rise and fall of his chest, and I could hear his labored breathing as I moved closer.

“Calidan?” I called, keeping my voice low.

His eyes fluttered open, and a smile touched his lips. He lifted a hand and waved me forward. I knelt at the edge of the bed, taking that hand carefully in mine. “Lazing about in bed when there is work to be done, sir?”

A rolling exhalation of breath was all the chuckle he could manage. The old Rikashi’s mouth worked up and down, but his voice would not work.

“Do not try to talk. You need to rest so you can get well. You said when I left I was not finished with my training.”

He shook his head. Whatever he needed to tell me was important enough for him to make an attempt while on his death bed. I reached for his mind and found it as feeble as his body looked. I could only pluck a few words from his fading thoughts—tariel, jewel, protect.

Another frown pulled the corners of my mouth. “I do not understand, Calidan.”

He sucked in a rasping breath, letting it out with the words he tried to speak. “Jewel…duty…protect.” His hand went to his throat, tugging at a chain there. “Yours now.” He placed something warm in my hand and with a sigh, closed his eyes again.

I looked at the amulet nestled on my palm. It was a beautiful star shaped gem. A myriad of colors sparkled within its depths. It seemed to pulse with a light of its own.

“Calidan, I cannot accept this.”

“Yours to protect.” The words rang in my mind, and the amulet flashed. A wave of dizziness took me briefly. A tone, sharp but not unpleasant, sounded in my ears. Faces flashed in my mind, twelve of them. Five were male. Five were female. The final two faces were blurred and difficult to make out. To my surprise, Aerandir’s face was one of the visible ones. My own face flashed last in my mind, the image lingering before fading. It was over as quickly as it had begun.

“What in the hell was that?” I murmured, staring at the amulet.

No answer came from my mentor. I put a hand on his shoulder, and I knew. Calidan was dead.

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