Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Search for my Muse

By Robin "Red Hot" Kaye


Lately it’s as if I’ve been hit over the head, time and again with the fact that I am muse-less. All my writer friends have muses, my buddy DT Tarkus (a man writing romance) has a vodka-swilling, lap dancing muse who likes to take her clothes off. While I’m happy for him, I’m wondering why I don’t have a Hugh Jackman look-alike who drinks 20 year-old scotch and does lap dances for me while whispering fabulous turning points in my ear. I mean really, if Barbara Walters rates a Hugh Jackman lap dance, I think I should be able to imagine a muse who would entertain me at least that much.

I’ve gone in search of my muse partly by necessity. You see, I belong to a new grog called Blame It On The Muse and all the authors on the grog are supposed to interview their muses. That’s pretty hard to do when my muse is either non-existent or invisible, deaf, and mute.

How does one find their muse? Hell, right now I’m considering lying about my muse, but I’m one of those disgustingly honest people—the only thing I lied about as a kid were the sins I committed when I had to go to confession. Ah the pressure of the confessional. Aside from the occasional fight to the death with my sister who outweighed me by 70 pounds, what did I have to confess? I’ll tell you what, nothing. So I’d kneel there knowing that Father Francis was on the other side of the screen bored to tears. I’d make up confession-worthy sins just to have something to talk about and a few Hail Marys to say so I didn’t look like the goody-two-shoes I was. Unfortunately, by the time I had anything really interesting to confess, Fr. Francis was ancient and I worried about causing the man to have a stroke or heart attack from the shock. But I digress…back to my missing muse.

In my quest to find my muse, I’m taking an online course called Muse Therapy. It just started and the first homework assignment is to name my muse, figure out what ticks him off, and what turns him on. If I knew how to do that, I wouldn’t have a missing muse. I’m beginning to wonder if my muse is one of those annoying men whose head is always buried in the sports page or texting on his cell phone and answers every one of my questions with the words “Yes dear” spoken in a foreign language? Or God forbid, what if my muse went and died on me? That’s my biggest fear. You see, I used to take my 120 lb. Lab, Sambuca out every night just before I went to bed. Sambuca was the Austin Powers of dogs—the boy could pee for five minutes straight until we’d have a river running down the driveway. There I’d be, standing up hill from him for obvious reasons, while he peed and great ideas would pop in my head. We had to put him down in April and even though I take Jasmine, our sweet pointer mix, out every night, she doesn’t pee on the driveway and I don’t get any great muse-worthy ideas. I’m so desperate I even took the box containing Sambuca’s ashes, sat him on my desk, and prayed for canine inspiration to no avail. Maybe dogs don’t pee in doggie heaven, or maybe the big devil dog that he was, is doing time in doggie purgatory. Either way I’m pretty much screwed.

So either I sent my muse to the great doggie park in the sky or I’m just too literal to have a muse. Honestly, I have to wonder if the people who claim to have sprites sitting on their shoulder passing them ideas and plot points are either certifiable or just damn lucky. I want to know how I can join them—either option would work for me. After all sanity is highly over-rated. What I would give to have someone pass me the keys to unlock the secrets to a New York Times Bestseller!

So far, I’m no closer to discovering my muse, though I have to tell you, I really hope my muse is a gorgeous male. I mean, if you could pick a muse, wouldn’t you want him to be someone you could stare at for hours while you look as if you’re working hard gazing at your computer screen?

For those of you who have a muse, how did you hook up with him or her? And for those of you who don’t, where do you get your great ideas? Oh, please don’t tell me that they come to you while you’re cleaning the toilet, having a muse moment with my dog peeing was about as bad as I want to get, cleaning the toilet is just out of the question.

38 comments:

Misha said...

My muse is just a personification of my creation put into human(oid) form in my imagination.

I guess I'm a traditionalist, but my muse is female, brunette and has a british accent. She's also incredibly snarky and usually stands slightly behind my shoulder reminding me that I'm supposed to be writing.

She just came to me the same way all of my characters do.

Speaking of which, one of my characters kind of took on muse-like characteristics in my mind. He is trying to get my to write the darn book and was the first one that told me to start it in the first place. So maybe you could just ask your favorite MC if she or he is interested in taking the job...

:-)

Stephanie Julian said...

Muse? I'm with you. What muse? I get my inspiration wherever I can find it and it's not some snooty female in a toga. The best inspiration is much closer to home. He's a hot guy sweeping and doing laundry. Oh wait, that's my husband. Love you, babe.

carlakempert said...

Honest, I've never seen my muse. I assume it's female because she comes and goes as she pleases. When I tell her I need to get something done on a set schedule, she plops down on the couch, says "Nuh uh; let's look for crappy movies on cable instead." Or worse, she has fate send me a new knitting pattern that I *must* try out now.

BUT, there are those times when I finally apply BIC, HOK (butt in chair, hands on keyboard), and I'll be tapping away, faking being a writer, and a tiny whisper in my ear tells me the next line, so I jot it down. (Big bennies to typing 100 wpm: I can keep up with my Muse.) Then I keep going, and she'll whisper again. More than once I've looked over a finished project and wondered, Where the F did that come from? I take no credit. It must've been the Muse.

My advice to you, dear Robin, is to just keep writing, let your brain go silent for a while, and listen. You'll hear her. She's there. Or he's there. Damn, I'd love to have Hugh Jackman as a Muse.

No, no, wait! Muse, come back! I didn't mean I don't love YOU! Aw crap...

Robin Kaye said...

Misha! What a fabulous idea! I was just thinking how odd it is that writers talk to their muses, but then I talk to my characters all the time and think nothing of it. It's a total double standard that I blame on muse envy! I'm gonna have a long talk to my buddy Trapper and see if he'll take the job. He looks more like Alan Jackson than Hugh Jackman, but I think I can deal with it. I wonder if he'd do lapdances?

Robin Kaye said...

Steph~

Another great idea. Maybe I can get Stephen to wash the kitchen floor, that always does it for me.

Thanks for dropping by!

Robin Kaye said...

LOL Carla - I have knitting ADD, I must have a hundred projects going at the same time. I'm just glad I don't have book ADD, could you imagine?

Thanks so much for stopping by. Has your muse forgiven you? I'll give you a call if I can get this Hugh Jackman like muse lap dancing for me, then you too can have muse envy!

Marley Delarose, Author said...

My muse appears mostly when I'm driving or in the shower. I wish, I WISH, it was a gorgeous studly guy but I have a feeling it's a she. I can always count on her in the car, though maybe she's trying to get me killed because I'm always going down the interstate writing as she dictates.

So I won't suggest driving but hey, I'm getting downright pruney from the showers I've been taking I'm getting so many good ideas.

Thanks for reminding me about the Barbara Walters interview I have on DVR.

Christie Craig said...

Robin,

LMAO. I have to say, I've heard of some awkward rituals to get your muse going, but a peeing dog, is the tops. Too funny.

I don't see my muse, don't name it, don't envision it doing lap dances or taking off its clothes. That would be way too distracting. Ahh, but I feel it. I feel it when the magic stirs my gut and suddenly I can't type fast enough. Hmm, I could use a day of writing like that right now.

Where's my son's dog. I wonder if I could get him to go pee on the driveway. LOL.

Thanks for the chuckle.

CC

Christi Barth said...

I do not have a muse. Why should I have to share credit for the books I write with some imaginary creature? Whether the ideas are or aren't coming, it is all MY fault, one way or the other. I'm going to cause a stir on the blog when I reveal I've long believed a muse to be little more than a crutch or an excuse - "I can't write; my muse left me". Nope. I stand firm that we as writers are all capable of just rubbing those brain cells together and producing.

Leslie Langtry said...

Welcome to KF, Robin! My muse is a bastard who always strikes just before I fall asleep so I forget what it said by morning. I'm in the market for a new one.

Keely Thrall said...

Robin...I'm museless too...but as a few folks have written, I *do* listen to the characters in my head. Maybe I can repurpose that old saw "it takes a village" and say I have a village/town/city/country's worth of muses? And they come in all shapes, sizes, colors, genders, yada, yada? Do you think I'm stealing other people's muses?? LOL!

Robin Kaye said...

Marley- A nice hot shower is a much nicer place for a muse visit than outside when my dog is peeing. Maybe my muse has a sick sense of humor or just likes to torture me. I'll take a nice long shower and see if he visits.

Thanks for coming by sweetie!

Robin Kaye said...

Christie~Don't you just love it when you hit that perfect zone that makes it feel as if you're just channeling the book. When you go back to re-read your work and can't remember writing it? Unfortunately that hasn't happened to me in way too long. Here's hoping you and I both have a long string of good writing days. I know I need them!

Robin :)

Robin Kaye said...

Christi - I'm glad I'm not the only one who doesn't want to share the credit. Writing is darn hard work, and yeah, If we work hard and put the time in, eventually we'll get past a roadblock. I too want to take all the credit. Unfortunately, those roadblocks sometimes seem insurmountable especially when I have a deadline. Maybe I just need to stop killing the brain cells so I have more of them to rub together.

Robin Kaye said...

Leslie~ Don't you hate it when your muse comes to you right before bed, or when you're out with your dog for his late-night pee break. I don't know how many nights I'd run back to the bedroom to tell my DH I wouldn't be going to sleep because I just had a great idea and needed to write. He's pretty used to it.

Robin Kaye said...

Keely~

Maybe that's it! You borrowed my muse. Please send him back and all my problems will be solved.

Diane Garner said...

Hi Robin,
My muse usually speaks to me through one of my characters, and always likes to torment me when I should be sleeping. I'll go bed and a character will start telling me about a hot new scene. Or I'll wake up in the middle of the night, and a character will tell me an already written scene is crap. So, I get up at 2:00 a.m. and start over. I can't tell you how much sleep I've lost because of my muse. What I wouldn't give to have it speak to me while the dog pees, I'm driving, or I'm taking a shower. Anyone want to trade muses?

TerriOsburn said...

I didn't think I had a muse but reading some of these responses makes me think my muse is just more subtle than some. I get my ideas through my characters, and right now one character in particular - whose story is not scheduled to be written until later next year - is being very pushy. I'm taking notes, but some of the more imminent story characters need to start talking over her!

When I'm falling asleep is when the characters talk the most. Don't they know I have to work in the morning?!

Janet Mullany said...

My muse looks like Miss Marples and is possessed of a nasty, sniping sort of sarcasm that shames me into getting my finger out.

Great post, Robin!

Robin Kaye said...

Diane~ The dog was always peeing right before I was supposed to be going to bed, so we were really in the same position. I know all about losing sleep. Actually, I wonder what I'd do if I got 8 hours of sleep in one night. Wouldn't it be great if we could trade muses. Maybe I just need to get the hot englishman, then with the time change, I'll be just about to awake when he's ready to whisper in my ear.

Robin Kaye said...

Terri~

I have a character like that. He's been bugging me for two books now. I just wish I could come up with the perfect heroine for him, so far no luck. Maybe I should ask him for help. His book could very well be next.

Good luck with your pushy character, he sounds great!

Robin Kaye said...

LOL Janet! Miss Marples? Really? Only you! But knowing how you write, I can see it. I for one am very glad she gets your fingers moving! Thanks so much for dropping by. Tell Miss Marples she can come over to visit me any time.

Anita Clenney said...

Hi Robin. Great blog. The closest thing I have to a muse is my critique partner. Seriously, I just have me and my imagination running wild. I talk to myself a lot, so maybe I'm my own muse. Now that's a strange thought.

Adele Dubois said...

When you find your muse, Robin, I hope he's half as entertainig as you are! Best of luck!

Adele

Robin Kaye said...

Anita~

Thanks so much for stopping by! I'm beginning to feel so much better about my non-existent muse. Oh, and I talk to myself a lot too. I think it's most of us authors do.

Gemma Halliday said...

My muse seems to currently be on vacation. Apparently she didn't get the memo that we have a deadline. Sigh. In her place, I'm relying on chocolate and wine. It's almost as good. ;)

~Gemma

Robin Kaye said...

Hi Adele~

Thanks for coming by! I'm so glad you enjoyed the blog and I certainly hope if I find my muse he's funnier than I am, Lord knows, I could always use a good laugh.

Hugs...Robin :)

Robin Kaye said...

Gemma~ I'm putting more chocolate and wine on my shopping list. Worst comes to worst, I'll have a better time staring at my computer...there's nothing like dark chocolate truffles and a nice bottle of Shiraz.

TerriOsburn said...

Speaking of chocolate and wine, have y'all tried the chocolate wine? My aunt had it last weekend and it smells just like chocolate milk. She said it was really good.

Talk about the perfect combination.

Pat said...

I wish I could help you doll, but I have no muse. Oh, I joke about having one, but the ridiculousness that is living is often my only inpiration. So, does anyone ask about my muse, it's just life. A glorious sunset can set my mind whirling, the illusionary fragility of a rose petal, the dog's head tucked under the car looking for a cat or a squirrel, my sweetheart looking gleeful at the thought of our soon-to-arrive granddaughter.

So don't fret about this. You may very well have a muse called Life, Foolishness, or What if." It's okay. You are you. Sorry about Hugh Jackman and the lap dances, though. I could so go there (although after seeing Rick Fox do his Rhett Butler on DWTS, um, yeah!.) {{{Hugs}}}

Robin Kaye said...

Terri~

OMG! Chocolate Wine? Is that what it's called? I have to get me some of that. It sounds divine!

Robin Kaye said...

Pat~

Congrats on the soon to be grandbaby! You're gonna be the hottest Grandmother around!

I miss you, girlfriend. We've got to get together soon. Right after I finish the damn book, okay?

Hugs right back atcha!

TerriOsburn said...

Here you go, Robin. It's called Chocovine.

http://chocovine.com/welcome.htm

Jana DeLeon said...

No muse here. I'm a very boring and predictable woman who sees writing as a business and my characters as the only people I can control. I don't want anyone else butting in. :)

Robin Kaye said...

Jana~ I've had two NYT Bestselling authors email me today to congratulate me on joining the Killers and one said "Oh-and the muse? There ain't no stinkin' muse!"
the other one said pretty much the same thing. I guess we're in good company.

Robin Kaye said...

Terri~

Thanks for the info. My good friend and neighbor picks the wine for the best liquor store around, I'm gonna have her get me some. I can't wait!

Pat said...

You said: I miss you, girlfriend. We've got to get together soon. Right after I finish the damn book, okay?

I miss you, too, doll. I am not even making it to NJRW this year. Makes me sad. So we'll have to see what we can do once you get that book done. And thanks for the congrats. Hot is not the word for me right now, though, unless you're talking wax! LOL
{{{Hugs}}}

Jana DeLeon said...

Robin - great to know that we've discovered the secret to success. LOL