Friday’s Theme Music

I was thinking about my muse, or muses. They were having a party in my head, a.k.a., a head party. Apparently, they’re feeling frisky. I enjoy their energy and company. Starting to learn some of their names. Won’t reveal that, per their dark request. (“Yeah, reveal our names and say good-bye, because we’ll be a word on the wind.”)

Anyway, here’s the song that was written about a muse, “Never Let You Go” by Third Eye Blind, January 2000.

Two More Dreams

I often dream about four things: being in the military (again), cars, houses, and animals. Two of those made it into the second dream. It was the main event. First, though, came a dream snippet.

I was working on rice flavors. I came up with a new, exciting idea: cinnamon rice. Awakening, I thought, cinnamon and rice? That’s been around for eons, as in, say, rice pudding. I was quite excited in the dream, though.

My boss entered. I made my announcement.

He loved the idea. “Cinnamon and rice. That’s our new potato chip flavor.”

Whaaat? I’d been working on potato chip flavors? I was aghast, horrified, and crestfallen. Then I said, move on.

My second dream found me in a huge house. My wife and I had been living there for years, but the place surprised me with its size. Besides several levels, the house featured several wings and a huge yard.

I’d been living on the main levels, I realized, and had forgotten about the other parts. Now, remembering them, I went on a re-discovery exploration. Everything was well lit, plush and well furnished, but some of the white marble steps were dusty. I had to clean those off, I told myself.

Back in the house, my black cat was clamoring for my attention, but I had a house guest. I took her to a breakfast nook off the second dining room (the more informal one). There was a table with three chairs. Two were standard dining room chairs, white with light blue padded seats. The third, in the same motif, was on wheels and featured a wicker headrest that could be folded up to extend the back.

I presented this to my friend. I hadn’t seen here in over a decade. She’d never been to my house. Dressed in light blue and white that weirdly matched the dining room and breakfast nook, she stood there with a laptop bag over her shoulder. “Perfect.” She set her bag down. “I will write and type here.”

Good. She wouldn’t bother us there. But I said, “You’ll be facing a wall.” That was anathema to me; I liked facing a window so I could look out.

“No, I like facing walls, so I’m not disturbed,” she replied.

Weird to me. Meanwhile, I had to pick up the dogs from the vet. I went out as the van arrived, bringing them back. (Yeah, that confused me for a second; I thought I had to go get them, but no, they’d been brought to me.)

I took the dogs inside and let them go. They rushed to one bathroom. Surprised, I followed them in. There, I found kittens: a gray, ginger, and two black and white. They were toddling around, their little tails straight up the air like pointers. The dogs avidly sniffed them.

I called to my wife, “Where did these kittens come from?”

She didn’t answer. That’s where the dream ended.

As A Muse Will

I’d come in, fired up the ‘putin’ machine (no, not the one that make everything that comes out look or sound like Putin), had my coffee, and settled in to write. Problem was that I didn’t know what to write.

In the course of revising April Showers 1921, I added another layer. It’s worked well. I was ready to end that layer. I didn’t know how. I’d been thinking about it but nothing came to me.

And then, hands on keyboard, the muse arrived and conducted, as a muse will. A scene flashed on my mind’s edge. Words arrived. I typed. The scene took off, becoming multiple scenes and dialogue, becoming a chapter. Walking away from it much satisfied with the results, I continued thinking about it as I conducted my post-writing walking review, and the next pieces came to me. Arriving yesterday and setting up, I took up with that, and had more terrific results. Then, today — yep, again, for a hat trick.

It was an intense and productive three days. I feel like I’m just coming back up for air.

I know it’s not a muse, but deep recesses in my mind shooting neurons at mental walls until something sticks and some sort of Jackson Pollack-like story ideas gel. It’s easier, simpler, and more elegant to just attribute it to the muse, though.

Besides, you never know. If it is a muse, sure as hell don’t want pull a Joey Tribbiani* and upset them.

Done writing like crazy for at least one more day. Cheers

* If you need the explanation…

Joey Tribbiani was a Friends character played by actor Matt LeBlanc. (Friends was a U.S. television sitcom on NBC last century.) Joey was an actor who achieved success on a daytime television soap opera. During an interview, Joey claimed that he wrote most of his own lines. The writer wasn’t happy and promptly killed the character.

The end.

 

Saturday’s Theme Music

After a night of interesting dreams – no family, games or military, but soup, spilling, and reach – I awoke and turned to thinking about the novel-in-progress. I focused on where I’d stopped yesterday, conducting a what’s-next exercise. Then I catapulted into more generalities before spinning the wheel to think about the greater story.

The muses were present and engaged, so it was a comfortable exercise. One said, “We can do this,” and another said, “I know we can.” “Yes, we can,” a third said.

That’s when I realized that they were channeling a 1973 Pointer Sisters song, “Yes We Can Can”. Although mostly about politics, change, and unity, it’s a powerful, energetic song about trying and confidence, too.

We got to iron out our problems
and iron out our quarrels
and try to live as brothers.
And try to find peace within
without stepping on one another.
And do respect the women of the world.
Remember you all have mothers.

Read more: The Pointer Sisters – Yes We Can Can Lyrics | 

Nineteen seventy-three. It was yesterday, and faraway. Here we are, dealing with madness in the White House, and setting up for more military conflict in the Middle-East. You know, because bombing other lands has all gone sooo well.

Beep…beep…beep

That’s the sound of me backing up. It annoys many others in the coffee shop when I back up when I’m writing. “Can you stop beeping?” they shout. “I’m on my cell and I can’t hear myself think.”

Sorry.

I’m backing up from yesterday’s writing. Oh, what a miserable day. I don’t know where the muses were, but they weren’t here. Did they stage a walk-out? Maybe. Don’t know.

I knew I had to make some links, slow down and let the story breathe, to improve the novel. That’s what I was trying to do. After a fitful session, I’d written a lot but I felt like it was horrible. I didn’t like it.

The muses agreed this morning. As soon as I awoke and finished thinking about my dreams (more family and dogs – WTH?), a muse rep said, “You know that stuff that you wrote yesterday?”

“Yes.”

“Well, it’s terrible.”

“I — ”

“It muddies the flow and does nothing for the pacing or coherency.”

“Yeah, I — ”

“This is what you need to do instead. First, delete all of that crap.”

“Crap is a little harsh, don’t yo — ”

“And then, this is what you write.” He proceeded to tell me.

I thought the proposal over. It was a lot better, and made more sense. I nodded. “Okay, I will. Thanks.”

My thanks went to empty air. The muse was gone. Guess they were off to help some other poor writer.

Got my coffee and took my first gulp of the blessed hot, dark, bitter brew. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.

Don’t Anger the Muses

I love it when I get in here to write, and I seem to know exactly where to begin and what to type. Little thinking is demanded; it’s just go, go, go. 

I know it’s not from ‘nowhere’ or some mysterious regions of my brain, or a gift from the muses. Truthfully, I’m agnostic. I’m not going to be categorical and say that it isn’t the muses. Maybe it is. Don’t want to outrage them by denigrating their contribution, you know. If it is due to the muses and they cut me off, I’d be bereft.

In my defense, I know that I stopped in the middle of a scene yesterday. I was following a trend. Once I’d shut down and was walking, thoughts arrived about what to do. Walking frequently acts as a laxative on my thinking, out there, going somewhere that only requires me to think, left, right, left, right — which out for the bus — permits to me to think.

I’d not been planning my thoughts and wasn’t actively thinking about the novel in specific ways. It was more a part of multi-streaming that I often do, especially while walking, surfing a little of one before jumping to another. This idea popped up, found its roots, and grew. More grew, developing new angles, as I showered and shaved this morning.

I guess it’s probable that I was thinking, but the muses were directing the streams and deciding what came to what. How’s that for a compromise?

Got my hot coffee. I’m in my chair. Time to write again, at least one more time.

 

One Typo

I was writing several days ago, working on the novel in progress, April Showers 1921. I’d dream the novel, seeing the cover and knowing the main characters and a lot of story. Yet I was struggling to find and fulfill the potential the dream had shown the novel to have.

I plugged on, though, searching, testing, writing, and then tossing some of it away, trying to find the right path. Completing a scene, I went back over it, making minor changes. I uncovered a typo, an ess attached to a word, changing the noun from singular to plural. While laughing at the images that plural conjured, I deleted the letter, but then reconsidered what the plural could mean to the story. Within a few seconds, that extra letter and the shift from singular to plural opened up a new range of ideas. I went with it.

Results surprised me. That typo bloomed like algae, taking over that scene, but also illuminating masses of the underlying concept. The typo changed the main character’s interactions with others and shifted the entire story by several degrees. The typo opened unexpected mind streams. I surfed into new directions again and again, reacting with surprise, but also with satisfaction that this novel was becoming something different than how it’d been going. All of this is what causes fiction writing to be so engaging and entertaining for me.

Got my coffee. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.

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