Luring the Muse

My Muse is a fickle creature. She dresses in moonlight and shadows and lives quietly in a forest glade, far from the reach of mortal thought. Most of the time I have to quietly lure her out of hiding with the promise of chocolate or a new toy to play with. There have been periods as long as months in the past when I couldn’t bribe her into showing her face at all – regardless of how I begged and pleaded. Then, on some days – like today – she hits me over the head so hard that I can’t concentrate on anything else until I finally give in and do whatever it is that she wants.

Recently, I’ve been having to work my day job quite a bit. Lots of overtime and such. So when does my shy little Muse want to dance about my mind with a tantalizing new idea? Right smack dab in the middle of my work day. There’s nothing quite like being focused on resolving your hundredth corporate problem of the day when you find yourself staring off into space and wondering what would happen to a plot line if vampires were a migratory species, racing around the world to stay ahead of the rising sun.

My Muse has done exactly this in recent days. Yet when I try to sit down and grasp her hand and make her tell me these ideas in a space where I can take advantage of them… Well, no Olympic sprinter runs as fast as a Muse who wants to avoid working.

This is probably why most of my usable ideas come to me in the middle of the night. My Muse obviously only likes working when she can be the most troublesome. So I have a multitude of strange and wonderful nighttime escapades. I call most of them my “Stephen King dreams” because my Muse is obviously a fan of horror and urban fantasy. Almost all my dream-ideas involve some sort of supernatural or frightening creature: zombies, werewolves, witches, ghosts, vampires. Or a frightening setting: an asylum, a haunted and/or mass murderer occupied house, the wind swept moors of the Scottish highlands. That sort of thing.

Sometimes when I have these sorts of dreams, the details slip away quite quickly and I’m left with nothing but the vague feeling that I would have had a great idea, if I could only remember it. Other times – like today, for instance – my Muse is like a monkey riding my back or a little cloven-hoofed voice on my shoulder whispering in my ear until I finally throw my hands up and say, “Of COURSE I had nothing better to do than to sit and write today! Long hand, you say? Sure! I LOVE aching wrists!”

What she wanted, today, was for me to sit and write nearly 2,000 words longhand about a dream she visited upon me about these hauntingly mysterious quartet of children and their curious ability to make fairy lights by playing their instruments (flute, cello, violin and piano, in case you were curious). I haven’t the faintest clue what the lights are for, why the instruments are important, or why the elder brother who is the main character is so suspicious of everyone who gets near his little sister. I also don’t know why little sister is so special. Frustratingly, I also don’t know if this story is going to develop into something more or what form it will take if it does.


So what does your Muse do to torture you? Share in the comments. And it’s okay if it’s a drawing or painting muse, or a music muse, or even a business muse that torments you.