Starting anything new is hard. Your car needs a surge of energy to get going, so does your computer, and if you’re going to write, so do you.
Writers have always relied on their muses. No one else can see your muse, just you. But my muse is more of an anti-muse. She calls herself Brenda. If you come across her, beware. Only I can hear her. Why not have a cup of tea before getting down to it? she says. And surely, it won’t hurt to check your email? And look at these interesting pictures on my phone. Watch out! She’ll sap your vital energy.
At this point, I am lost. My morning writing time has turned into a lethargic afternoon. I have brain-fuzz. My brain is starving for serotonin. At least that’s what I think it’s starving for. In truth, I probably wouldn’t recognize a neurotransmitter if it bit me in the proverbial.
What’s really annoying about Brenda is she’s so, well, provocative. How can I concentrate if she’s sitting there in that skirt? The woman should have some decency.
She loves that word “just.” Just have a piece of chocolate before starting, I hear myself thinking. I know that’s not me, it’s her. I’ll just go out and get the mail, and I’ll just sharpen this pencil.
Does this sound familiar?
When I resist resistance, Brenda renews her effort. She elbows me in the ribs. Go on, enjoy yourself. You only live once. If I continue to focus, she becomes petulant. I have to admit, she has a certain allure when she gets all pouty, but she’s no good for me. I don’t need distractions. I need focus.
I try to be like Odysseus who manfully strapped himself to the mast of his ship. He blocked his ears with wax to drown out the sound of seductive sirens. And believe me, Brenda can turn on the charm.
Ignore Brenda for long and she gets insulting. She’s crude when angry. And, I hate that bubblegum habit. Seduction doesn’t work by tantrums. By the time Brenda is in a full-blown tizzy, she knows she’s lost and storms out. Then I get down to work.
I do feel sorry for Brenda though. I’ve always thought she was once somebody else’s muse. Maybe she was ignored. Hell hath no fury as a muse ignored.
Before Brenda came around, Thalia was here most of the time. She’s full of good ideas. Right now, Thalia is sitting on the arm of my sofa twisting a ringlet of her hair. She’s got that playful look on her face again. If she wasn’t telling me what to write, I wouldn’t be writing this now. But she’s never here when Brenda is around. Do they have some kind of pact?
When Thalia does show up, she always comes in the morning when I’m hardly awake. But I often forget what she tells me. I feel her pithy turns of phrase slipping away from me as the cold light of dawn brings with it its mind-numbing taskiness. I am left only with a few rapidly fading images, thoughts, and ideas.
I read somewhere recently that creativity is not about thinking things up, but writing things down. Just a few jottings can help. Thalia was here only a moment ago. Now she’s gone. She’s like that.
Brenda, yes you do look marvelous in that new leather jacket. Pizza, you say? Yes, I’m coming now. No, you’re not disturbing me. I can write later.