Sunday, May 3, 2009

illusive muse

So I’m watching Elizabeth Gilbert give a TED talk on inspiration and the illusive muse, and it makes me think about how often I am struck to write at a time I can *never* actually put pen to paper.. or fingers to keyboard in my case. It’s always the middle of the night when insomnia bites, or worse, sitting on the loo, when the most prosaic little bit of prose pops into my tiny noggin and starts wobbling about, taking form and adding adjective after adjective. Sometimes I’ll be talking to someone and a thought comes to mind… something I would love to capture. Too late… it’s come and gone. When I sit down later it turns into a flat and boring essay, stale bread and moldy cheese. I leave dejected and don’t come back to the writing table for a long time. What causes it? why is the timing always off? Why are my energies so out of balance?

My thoughts turn to my Mum. In the last few years she has started to write. She always did, but it’s become something serious and amazing. She started with amusing poems, somewhat in the style of Roald Dahl. I can see them as large books in a children’s library with wonderful illustrations and tongue twister rhymes. Since then she has gone on to tender and delicate haiku and all sorts of various short stories and essays. She’s not a mother, a wife, a manager… she’s a writer… a *good* one… a prolific one too.

Her discipline makes me think I should be more determined. Elizabeth Gilbert talked about how creative people are internally tortured and scared of the constant possibility of rejection. I don’t consider myself creative, but I do want to write for my own satisfaction. It doesn’t matter if what you write is good, bad or indifferent, as long as something has made it out from inside the vacuum. If I can grab one bit of these things as they come into focus and dance out again it will be worth it.


Keith said...

As you suspect, you really *should* record these fleeting thoughts. Sure, 99% of them will not turn into a prize-winning novel or poem, but there will be some gems and you never know which they will be.

Further, taken as a whole, a bunch of useless thoughts might add up to something tangible. Reviewing them together after-the-fact might reveal more than you expect.

I'd suggest that you keep a note pad with you at all times. Or perhaps little cards might work better. You have to figure out what works, but by all means try some things out. If you aren't comfortable taking a note pad into "the loo" with you, how about a voice recorder?


judemasti said...

I know I know... you're right as always. Though a voice recorder in a loo is a rather scary thought... ;) Not sure that's really the place you want to be recording noises! :D