“Have you been getting my text messages? I haven’t heard back from you.”
ME: "Hello Muse… are you there? Why haven’t you called me back? I’ve been texting you, but you never reply. It’s so good to finally hear from you. I wondered if maybe you were mad at me or my characters."
What to do when your best friend as a writer disappears? In the best of times my muse gives me lovely gifts, like the scene in Untangling the Knot where Gabriella explains death using a crouton (you’ll just have to read it to understand). But sometimes, no matter how hard I try, the ideas are sluggish, like a kid after too much candy.
When I get stuck like that there are a few things I try. If I’ve been writing for at least an hour I will give myself a short break, to get more coffee for example. If not, I will sometimes close my eyes, listen to my music and see if any ideas come from the sounds or lyrics.
But often, when I am really stuck, I will pray. I know not everyone would feel comfortable with this, but this is an integral part of my writing. I have frequently heard someone refer to a talent as a gift. But it is only in the context of my writing that I finally understood what this meant.
At those moments, when I am trying to find just the right way to show my story, my prayers seem to bring the perfect idea from nowhere and hand it to me with beautiful wrapping and ribbons, so that even now, when I re-read
those sections, I find myself surprised and grateful.
The key to this process is to trust; to have faith so to speak, that my muse or God or whatever we call it, is directing me toward something that will eventually make sense. And if I am scattered, stressed, or thinking about the end result rather than the gift of writing, it is impossible to hear the answer.
I listened to the speaker of the overhear as he talked and talked and talked to the person on the other end of the line. Rarely did he ask a question or sit still and listen. Maybe, like my muse, his missing texts had simply gotten lost in the noise of his whirling brain.
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