Strategy Sundays: Finding the Muse

Today, as I was going through my book collection and determining what to keep, what to sell, and what to replace on my kindle, I came across this sweet inscription and drawing from Rikki Ducornet. We met in June 2005, when I was interning at a writing conference. We shared seductive hearts, the darkness of the human mind, the rawness of experience. Upon the end of the conference, she gave me this book, with an inscription nestled on the title page.

I've carried this book through four states, countless moves, and dozens of hours of writing. And I had forgotten about this muse until today.

How do you find your muse?

Some days, She appears to me in a flash, in the flight of a cardinal through the barren Winter trees, in the glare of headlights as I ride home from waitressing. Some days, I sit quiet and still, waiting for Her whisper, which often never appears. But somehow, some way, I keep writing.

I can't say that there is such thing as one muse, one Divine spirit that travels through the hearts and minds of writers, bringing inspiration and language. Each of us is spurred to write for different reasons: to tell a story, to empty our minds, to let out the screaming in our heads. What is most important, I believe, is that we honor that call to write. We each come to the page new, young, with ideals beyond action in our hearts and words clamoring to be set free. Each moment is an opportunity to connect with the wisdom we carry, the deepest part of our being, and share it with the world {or just our own private eyes}.

What does the Muse whisper to you?

When I least expect it {and often at 5am}, She tickles my heart, stirring me awake and reaching for my journal. In the near-black night, as I blink through sleep-laden eyes at the page, She speaks through my fingers and into the journal I keep at the bed. Some nights, I forget to bring my notebook with me, and rise awkwardly to fumble in my bag for the pen and paper. If it takes too long, if I can't find the working pen or the journal isn't actually in the bag, She leaves me, grumbling at my own forgetfulness and Her insistence at my waking. If I can fall asleep, it is only to rise again, in an hour or less, when the words resurface and the push of Her voice is too great to ignore. Even in dreams, She tells me what to write. Often I ignore Her, and am left with the terror in my heart that I have forgotten to do something incredibly important {which, of course, I have}.

No matter Her words, no matter the form your Muse takes, heed that call. Do not ignore the whisper in your heart. Do not let the wisdom slip away. Be grateful for the connection that brings this brilliance to your being.

And share that brilliance with the world.