ROMANCING THE MUSE
The question I’m most asked is, “Where do your ideas come from?” I always respond with something logical, something that doesn’t make me look like a crazy person. And my answer is partial truth. I do get my ideas from observing what’s going on around me, from newspapers and overheard conversations, from family experiences and observed relationships. But the whole truth is I have a secret relationship that spoon feeds me ideas, characters, conflicts and many a surprise ending that I’d never seen coming.
“Ah, ha!” you say. “I knew there was more to it than Susan was letting on.”
You’d be right. But there’s a reason for my partial truth. It’s very complicated to explain the muse and my relationship with her. She is a very delicate creature and requires an extraordinary amount of attention and wooing for me to remain in her good graces. She doesn’t like to be tired. She doesn’t like to be hungry. The sound of the phone ringing sends her off to hide in a closet (after which she won’t come out for hours because I was fickle and talked to someone else). She sneaks up on me in the middle of the night just to see if I’ll pay attention to her. And she never, never works when she has a headache.
Sometimes she whispers in my ear. Other time she clubs me on the head with a shovel. And every once in a while, she jumps out of nowhere in the dark and startles me breathless.
My dearest, my muse, must be nourished on a steady diet of movies, books, undivided attention, and silence
“No problem,” you say. “Who wouldn’t want to take her to the movies and read her wonderful novels?”
If only it were that easy. The problem arises when you can’t figure out what mood she’s in. Does she need a comedy? Is she hungry for drama? Would she rather go for a long walk instead? Believe me, she won’t give as much as a hint beforehand. It’s like dating a … a woman.
If all of the above don’t work, I have to ignore her completely. As with any fickle creature, she can’t stand it. Sooner or later she’s telling me what I need to know – usually at the most inopportune moments; when I’m on the lawn tractor far from the house without a notepad and pen; when I’m on a long drive by myself and have no one to tell, “Hey, remind me later….”; in the middle of a public function where I must remain engaged with real people. Truly, she’s quite a handful.
But as with any worthwhile relationship, I accommodate, I indulge, I persevere.
I hope you’ll read my latest release, SEEING RED, and let me know how you think my muse is doing. You can send me an email (email@example.com), or stop by my message board at http://www.susancrandall.net/. It’s completely safe to speak the truth; the muse isn’t allowed to see either of these things. I may need to modify my wooing strategy.