MY WICKED MUSE
by Laura Bickle
I’ve always been envious of people who have good relationships with their muses. There are writers who have healthy relationships with their muses. They take their muses out on coffee dates and have long conversations at the beach while holding hands. Their muses arrive when summoned, sprinkling fairy dust and waving magic wands. They whisper with gossamer voices, reassuring and gentle. Words flow on paper, inspired and brilliant.
This is not my muse.
My muse is a….well, she’s difficult. I suspect that she may have been kicked out of Tooth Fairy school for bad behavior and was assigned muse duty as penance for raiding the cash drawer. She’s surly, unpredictable, and wholly unrepentant about being AWOL.
It’s not that I’ve tried. I did all the rituals suggested to make friends with my muse. I have a writing nook set up. I played music. I lit candles. I wrote down statements of intention. Made dream boards. Meditated.
Nada. My muse laughed at my dream board, used the candles to light a cigarette, and complained that the desk was too small. She sat on the edge of the desk in her torn fishnet stockings and complained about the lighting. And she used all my lipstick.
So I tried to bribe her. I bought her chocolates, made offerings of flowers. I acted like a Shakespearean actor in love, trying to woo her attentions.
She promptly informed me that she didn’t like caramel and that my poetry sucked. I think that she also blew smoke in my face and told me I needed to lose weight.
Eventually, I gave up trying to be nice. I was spending a lot of time and energy courting inspiration, and she didn’t want to be courted. I asked the benevolent universe for a new muse, but my request was denied. I was stuck with the surly muse who spent more time teasing her hair and sticking gum under my desk than helping me with my novel.
So…I decided to wage war on my muse.
“We are going to write this book, whether you want to or not,” I told her. “I have a deadline.”
“Oh, yeah?” She watched me with narrowed eyes covered in purple eyeliner. “Just try it, Chickie.”
I threw a butterfly net over her, tied her to the chair, and sat on her. She yowled like an aggravated cat and got glitter all over the floor.
But her butt was in the chair. And so was mine. Lo and behold, writing occurred. And it was not bad writing.
I realized something…all this chasing inspiration was really meaningless for me. The only key to success was getting my butt in the chair and doing it, whether inspiration had struck me or not. I could be passive about it, and wait for my muse to bless me with insight…or I could just get to work.
Laura Bickle has worked in criminal justice and library science. When she’s not patrolling the stacks, she’s dreaming up stories about monsters under the stairs. She’s authored four fantasy novels for adults, and The Hallowed Ones is her first teen novel. Visit her website at http://www.laurabickle.com. She’s also on Facebook and Twitter, usually exclaiming over cute cat pictures.