There’s a writer living in my head, and he’s a genius.
Or so he tries to convince me, as his prose flows freely day in and out, filling most idle moments– while I’m showering, driving, dining, taking out the trash, or performing any of the other mundane tasks of daily life. His prose is brilliant– his points always well aligned, his recall of long-ago events and facts uncannily perfect, and his agility in seamlessly transitioning from one topic to the next is above reproach. He never needs spell-check or a thesaurus, and he never struggles to find the right way to approach the topic. His efforts are frequently interrupted by periods of basking in the glorious reception he imagines for his easy labors, and is certain that untold rewards are sure to follow.
Unfortunately, this genius is a huge jerk.
As soon as a spare moment is found in which hands can be placed upon a keyboard or a notepad, he’s either nowhere to be found, or not “in the mood” to rehash old topics that were perfectly formed in the ether… to commit such brilliance using a device so banal as a keyboard is an insult, it seems, and he won’t dare to be part of such an endeavor.
Over the years, I’ve found that the only way to write is to just type, painfully, whatever drivel comes to mind, scaffolding up the roughest of approximations of what he might say, providing nary a distraction to amuse him. With false start after false start, rewrite after rewrite, I suffer until he comes out, clucks his tongue at my pathetic efforts, and begins to guide my fingers on the keyboard. He bridles at the annoyance of checking facts (rolling his eyes in distain each time an inaccuracy is found—“the piece would be better if I was right!” he argues) and groans each time my feeble mind grapples with a word choice.
When a throwaway tweet gets 300 times the pickup of a hard-scribed blog post, he groans and rants at the inanity of the mortal world.
But what alternative is there?
3 thoughts on “The Muse”
it is a labor of love :) Or more accurately, as my other friends who write would say: writing is like exercise. If you let yourself skip a week, it’s painful to return into rhythm. You might exercise your writing muscles regularly, even if a little bit.
Brilliant. I have a .txt in my drafts folder titled “Pilcrow Angst”, but the genius in me never bothered to show up to finish it; just like yours often does. Just stumbled upon your blog: Don’t stop writing.