A Thought for Every Word

Posts tagged ‘muse’

13 Reasons Why A Writer Writes ~ Or What Happens at 1:30 a.m.

I could not stop her last night.  She whined and pouted.  She even tried flattery.  She was ceaseless in her persistence.  “Get up” she said, “Get up and write.” So, I did.  At 01:30 it is dark outside.  It is dark inside.  At 01:30 eyes need longer to adjust to the artificial light of the low watt CFL housed in the lamp on my nightstand.  At 01:30, when your muse says write, there is nothing you can do but write.  I know, I’ve tried all manner of diversions to get my muse to close her eyes and sleep.  I’ve tried late night movies and raids on the refrigerator.  I’ve tried walks, but usually that results in a neighbor getting suspicious of why you are up walking in your pajamas(clearly visible over the waistband of your jeans) and slippers that scuff and scrape on the stair. I’ve tried sleep aids and melatonin.  Useless if the muse in your room is singing at the top of her lungs.

Why do Writer’s Write?  I have read many essays on this subject.  You can Google it and find a myriad of answers. This list is not conclusive as I am sure there are other writers who can come up with a least six more reasons.  So let us just say that the reasons are infinite.  Here is a sample of some of the reasons given:

  • to explain something
  • to make a point
  • to tell a story
  • to report what happened
  • to communicate
  • to make someone else think about a problem or mystery
  • to make someone else scared
  • to invent a world and characters to go in it
  • to imagine what they would do in a situation
  • to share information with others
  • to entertain
  • to delight

In reviewing that list, I don’t see the reason that fits why I write. Let me add my own items:

  • to appease my muse
  • because I must

Don’t get me wrong!  I want to write.  I love to write. I love my muse and her persistent droning in my head.  She is as much a part of me as nerve endings.

The longing for a muse began when I was very young, and very naive.  I want to write, I exclaimed with all the syllables my seven year old missing tooth mouth could form.  I want to be Beatrix Potter (it came out be-a-trithsh pother) I told my dad.  The next year, I wanted to be Lewis Carroll, then as the years came and went, I found new voices to tempt me.  All the while thinking I needed a muse to steer me in the right direction. When we did meet for the first time (as I recall it), the words poured from my fingertips like a broken water main.  Non-stop for days.  I was so happy.  I was writing.  It became a compulsion.  I would write about school, school kids, school yards, teachers, substitute teachers, neighbors, neighbors dogs, stray cats, a car accident, a door-to-door salesman (Oh, I just dated myself didn’t I?).   It was many years later that I realized the vixen had been with me since the beginning.  It was her urging that sent me into new sections of the library to discover new-to-me authors.  It was her ceaseless melody that had me saving my babysitting money for empty notebooks, pee-che folders, and Bic pens; pens because the ink flowed over the paper at a faster rate than did a number two pencil, and the plastic cap was more durable under gnawing teeth.

As I continued through my education years, my writing took on a dark period.  I believe every teenage soul goes through this period.  Whether you are the popular kid, or not; whether you go to the prom or not, this period exists.  Call it raging hormones, call it what you will, but for those of us who tap into it, it can be profoundly dark and disturbing.  The good thing for me was that I learned a great deal at that time, and I discovered something priceless and enduring.  I discovered poetry.  Edgy, full of grit poetry.  It was cathartic.  It got me through high school, even managed to land a couple of kudos from the Creative Writing teacher and the rest of the English Department staff when my own poetry became as a soul laid bare.  My muse was in her element.  In college, my writing turned technical, analytical, cold, calculating, and terse.  Seemed like a good path for my muse ~ Technical Writing.  There was only one thing wrong with that path…people.  As a technical writer, you generally have to interview people.  You don’t interview machines, or food, or empty laboratories.  Nope, you interview people.  Now, just how was an introverted, self-doubting nerdlette supposed to interact with people?

My muse came to my rescue.  She gave me little self recriminating jokes, to use to get the people to see me as just a human typewriter.  It worked, and for that I told my muse I would always listen to her.  Yep, you can see where I’m going with this.  My muse never let me forget that promise.

Nowadays, my writing is done on a laptop.  Quick working fingers over back lit keys; tap tapping away at pages and pages of words and ideas, to be sifted through and gleaned later for the right stuff.  Words that say something, or mean something to me.  Self-absorbed isn’t it?  Indeed.

So, at 01:30 when my muse says “Get up and write.”  I get up and write.  Sometimes I can placate her with a short poem, or a paragraph or two for some story I am in the process of writing.  Sometimes…she demands blood. It is then that I sigh, get up and fetch a chunk of bread, and a large glass of water, then prop the pillows behind my back and open my laptop.  I know what is in store for me ~ a long, albeit productive, night of writing.  Long into the morning, until I can no longer keep my eyes from burning and my muse is beginning to yawn.  As I write this I have been up since 0900 yesterday morning, approaching thirty hours. No sleep as yet, but in the corner of the room, over by the bookcase, my muse has her arm on the top shelf and her head on her arm.  If I stop and listen, her once loud siren song is now a soft comfortable hum.

I do love my muse.  As most writers will tell you, it is when their muse takes a vacation that they are desperate for them to return. They are the drug of our addiction.  Why do Writer’s Write?  For me, it is because I must. It is the air in my lungs, the blood in my veins, and the sweet soulful beat of my heart.  Not to mention that continual hum of my muse.

 

The Zen of a Perfect Saturday Afternoon

You’ve experienced it. You’ve coveted it. You’ve used it as an excuse not to attend the house painting party, or the dog birthday party you were invited to, even though you are allergic to everything dog. It is the perfect Saturday afternoon.

Granted, not everyone has experienced the perfect Saturday afternoon. Planets must be aligned just right; in-laws, or outlaws, must be out of town; the weather must be mild enough for you not to break a sweat. Rare components all, but when they fall into place…OM.

This morning I woke after a good nights sleep, something that is in itself a bit of a miracle but that is another post. I dutifully did my sit-ups, pushups, and twenty minute aerobic routine before stepping into the shower. When I got out of the shower, freshly warmed by the hot water, I strode around my apartment in my towel,looking to see what was on my agenda for the day. Vacuum? Nope, did that during the week because of a little crumb incident. Dust? Nope, that followed the vacuuming (please no bickering over which comes first, the vacuum or the duster). Laundry? Not enough to justify the water use. No yard work (apartment living at it’s finest), no auto repair, no babysitting nieces, nephews, neighbors pets, or moving-van contents. Then it slowly dawned on me. I could do whatever I wanted to do. There was no agenda. No plan. I could watch the Stanley Cup finals, or a movie. I could grill a steak, or create something equally decadent in the kitchen. I could nap, I could read…I   COULD   WRITE!!!

If you are not new to my blog, you know that I am a writer/author of M/M Romance, and that I occasionally dabble in poetry. I am also writing a F/F Romance tentatively titled “Shieldmaiden” and I would like to give you an excerpt today. If you are new to my blog, please feel free to look around and read some of my other posts. I write whenever and wherever the muse strikes. When, that is, the muse is around and not over at Starbucks eyeing the cute barista. My muse is hedonistic and will spend hours drooling over a good looking person; or an incredible sunset photograph, without so much as a by your leave, until I am forced to beg and bribe to lure her away. Today, this perfect Saturday afternoon, my muse is sitting zen like next to me on the couch, cooing with each new poem I post or paragraph I type in Shieldmaiden. My muse it seems, has been waiting for this cosmic alignment with equal fervor. We are a couple today. OM

Now, back to the Perfect Saturday Afternoon.  Time for a glass of wine, a little fresh air on the deck, and if I am lucky, a kiss from my muse.

Shieldmaiden takes place on the Island of Breton, sometime after the erection of Hadrian’s Wall, and before Geoffrey of Monmouth penned “Leir of Britain” or contributed to the Arthurian Legend. In the story, the Shieldmaiden Bryn, the daughter of a Druid Elder, falls in love with the Princess Thalynder, the only daughter of the King of the Realm. Unbeknownst to Bryn, the dragon that companions the Princess, is really her own dragon; bonded with her at infancy and given to the King for his daughter in payment for protection of the druid clann from the raiders across the eastern sea.

From Shieldmaiden:

“I have no time for men,” Bryn said, her voice thick with renewed passion. She ran her free hand over Thalynder’s neck.  She moved her hand to Thalynder’s jaw, and when Thalynder did not pull away, Bryn placed a kiss on Thalynder’s throat.  Another kiss on her chin, then another on her mouth.  She felt Thalynder’s hand touch her breast and she moaned against Thalynder’s soft lips.  Bryn kissed those lips with desire and urgency, and was rewarded by a gentle squeeze of Thalynder’s hand, causing her nipples to come erect.  She felt Thalynder relaxing under the kiss, and she moved to part Thalynder’s lips with her tongue.  She felt Thalynder stiffen, then relax against her.  She let her tongue lay softly against Thalynder’s tongue, and then felt Thalynder respond by pushing her own tongue further into Bryn’s mouth. Bryn moved her hand to the back of Thalynder’s neck and took the kiss deeper.

The lush dance of two tongues eager for the touch of the other; asking for more and pushing hard against each other to take all the other would give.  Bryn felt Thalynder release her other hand, and then felt both hands on her tunic over her breasts.  She moaned deeply in Thalynder’s mouth.  With one hand on Thalynder’s neck, the other moved to touch the brocade tunic at Thalynder’s breast.  Bryn moved her hand in a circular motion over the brocade, feeling the shiver of Thalynder’s body against hers.  She moved to pin Thalynder against the tree, and then positioned her leg so that she could raise her knee and rub against Thalynder’s mound.  Thalynder shuddered, then abruptly stopped the kiss and pushed Bryn back.

“No,” she said breathlessly.  “A little at a time, my Bryn.  I am only now getting used to kissing you.”

Bryn, as breathless as the Princess, released Thalynder from her position against the tree.  She ran a hand over Thalynder’s cheek, then lay her forehead on Thalynder’s shoulder and sighed.  “What am I going to do if you marry?” she asked.

Shieldmaiden is my first attempt at a female/female romance. I hope you like the draft excerpt that follows at the end of this post. I would love your comments about the excerpt.

For those of you readers of M/M Romance, my short story A Pharaoh’s Promise will be available free to Goodreads members under the Love is Always Write event, posting is set for June 14th.   A second ebook, Light and Shadow,  a Seventh Window Publication, is due out later this summer.

My ebook Scar Tissue is available here:

http://www.seventhwindow.com/index.php?main_page=product_music_info&cPath=&products_id=41

G.L. Roberts’s books on Goodreads

For all of the readers of Scar Tissue…Bob and Mike will be back!  The second in the series takes them to the jungles of Honduras and into the path of rebel guerillas.

What Prompts a Writer

Some of us write because we love the words.  Little words like His and At; words like Remorse or Morbid, and big words like Turpitude or Grandiose, that convey the thoughts that are ever wandering around in our minds.

Some write because we desire attention.  Spilling our guts on black and white, calling attention to the bloodstained tear streaks of our lack of social status, hoping our voices are heard over the din.  Willing our uncensored passion upon you.

Some write because we seek release.  The bottled up thoughts, wishes, hopes, goals, passions, cravings, teeming against each other pushing against our synapse waiting for the explosive gasp of the muse.

Whatever the reason, the stories and verse we set down become as important to us as air is to lungs, or white cells to blood.  Without our stories and verse we would gasp and choke, shrivel and die unable to fend off the invading virus of flaccidity; willing ourselves to step out into the crowded lanes of fast moving traffic.  So, we write.  Some of us are lucky to have our words read by others.  We delight when others read and move their heads, either yes or no; it does not matter so long as the words are read.  We pump our fists and raise our arms in the air when we receive a comment on our words.  A review; a posted comment on a social network; a whispered “have you read this” heard on the train.  We are amazed when others like our work, even though we ourselves love it.  We nurtured it, fed it, cared for it, gave it a bath; a haircut, a new suit, made love to it.  It is ours, and we expect to adore it.  It is when you the reader finds a piece of our word filled pages and claims it as something that moves you one way or another, that we the writer stamps ‘paid in full’ in our ledger.  Only then can we move on.

When I first put my Scar Tissue characters down on paper, I did so with timid and unsure hands.  I wanted to tell a M/M romance story of two men who come together because of an underlying current of connectivity.  Each having shed past demons to become better acquainted with themselves. I had past demons.  I needed to excise those demons.   Thus, the two men came to my aid.  Though these two men started out in a different story, they made their debut to readers here in Scar Tissue. For one of the men –  Bob Elkins, it was a flippant journey. Callous at times, tender at other junctions, ever leading him along a path where he eventually becomes a stronger, more confident man in his own skin.  For Mike Wells, it was a path strewn with boulders; one’s he could not surmount, being forced to go back and find another way around.  Each retreat led him deeper into a solitary existence.  Where Bob could laugh at his past and the deeds he committed to keep from starving on the streets, Mike could not laugh, and he hid from his past.  There was anguish there, and pain.

When the two men come to the fork in the road that will either take them one way together, or split them apart, Mike is able to reach the top of the largest boulder that had been blocking his way forward.  On the other side stands Bob; hands outstretched and waiting.  They have many things in common. They are both former military, and fiercely patriotic.  They are both loyal when it comes to friends.  They both have lost parents.  They are strong men; in heart, mind, and body.  Physically intimidating, tall, and muscular.  And, they are both gay.  Each employed by the government during a moment in time when outing themselves could get them fired from their jobs…or worse.  They struggle with their relationship as does any couple.  What they have together cannot be denied, and it will endure.  Scar Tissue is a novella and is available through Seventh Window Publications here: Scar Tissue

You can also find Scar Tissue at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

My next book, Light and Shadow, another M/M romance, again places two men at a crossroads.  Cody Andrews has left his fast lane partner, and the glimmering sights and sounds of Los Angeles, for an abandoned and run down lighthouse on the rugged Oregon coast.  He is determined to renovate and live in the lighthouse and create a new life for himself; far from the fast lane and its inherent dangers. He finds himself attracted to a tourist, Nick Stanton, who is out visiting the Oregon coast from Chicago.  Cody and Nick hit it off at their first meeting, with just one little hitch…Nick has a partner of his own.  A greedy, manipulative man named Ray Milner.  Ray’s constant badgering of Nick and the quiet coastal town grates on Cody’s nerves, and Cody wishes he could silence Ray’s harpy declarations.

When Ray pushes his luck at little too far, Cody is the only one around to save Ray from his own stupidity.  Nick is grateful, but can Cody leave it at that?  Will he allow Nick and Ray to leave the coastal town peacefully at the end of their vacation, or will Cody try one last time to win Nick from Ray?

Cool winds, bright sun, a lighthouse, and two men; one who thought he had escaped the drama, the other deeply embroiled in it. Light and Shadow will be available later this year through Seventh Window Publications.  More information will made available as the book nears its go live date.

A short story written for the Goodreads M/M Romance event “Love is Always Write“, entitled A Pharaoh’s Promise, is set in Ancient Egypt. A Pharaoh of the Hyksos Dynasty, King Khiyan, has fallen in love with the slave that carves and paints his image on the walls and obelisks of Lower and Upper Egypt.  The slave, Gehdur, cannot believe he has been chosen by the King.  He realizes his place is to obey, but his heart wants more than just to pleasure his King.  He wants the King’s love as well.  This story will be made available free to all Goodreads members June 14th.  I will post a link once the story is published on the Goodreads site.

In the works is a followup novella to Scar Tissue.  This one takes Bob and Mike into the jungles of Honduras and Nicaragua on Mike’s first covert CIA operation.  Bob is already in Central America with the DEA, when he learns that Mike will join him; he is at first excited, and then distressed.  Their forbidden relationship, thus far secret, threatens to heat up the already warm nights in the jungle and each man must make the hard decision to back away from the other before lives are lost.  Sandinista guerrillas, drug lords, and steamy jungle nights bring Bob and Mike to a bridge that must be crossed…or burned.

And, for readers of fantasy romance, Shieldmaiden, is the F/F romance story of unrequited love between the daughter of a famous Druid High Priest, and the daughter of the King of the realm.  The Princess, a dragon mistress, champions her dragon to find her true love.  When the dragon discovers it is the daughter of the Priest, the challenge is to get the two women to recognize their destiny.  The Priest’s daughter knows she is in love with the Princess and with the support of the dragon, sets out to prove her love worthy of a Princess.  Shieldmaiden has not yet been picked up by a publisher, but my fingers are crossed…

The three novels in which Bob and Mike take a long journey through the jungles of Panama, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua, to the drug labs in Columbia, are ready and waiting for an editor and/or publisher to give them a home.  Until then..

For those of you who follow my blog, I wish to express my sincerest thanks for doing so.  My stories and poems are the white cells to my mind; keeping all dark thoughts from manifesting into crowded lanes of fast moving traffic.

How to Guest Blog When Your Muse Refuses to Cooperate

A short while ago, I became a published Author.  I was excited of course, but then the awful gut wrenching what ifs starting popping up with every new keystroke.  Everyone, everywhere can understand the concept of the what ifs. They are universal.  They know no boundary of color, race, creed, gender, or ice cream flavor preference.  They sneak in like flies, first one, then another, multiplying into a hoard of buzzing nonsense.  What if the book doesn’t sell?  What if I get the most abominable case of writer’s block? What if I never write another book, let alone another paragraph, another sentence, another great word?  Those pesky what ifs can cast a pall so dense you need a torch the size of Lady Liberty’s in order to even see the glare of the computer screen.  I struggled to shake the what ifs.

My publisher suggested a guest blog spot on a blog that hosts other authors of my current genre.  Guest Blog?  Me?  When I can’t even get a coherent sentence framed that even my neighbor’s seven year old could understand?  What about?  And more importantly why?  To grow your audience, to bring in new readers to your published work, to make new friends, influence people, become a star!  Well, okay maybe not an overnight sensation, especially if you read my first attempt at guest blogging, tomorrow April 12, 2012, on KoolQueerLit.com.  My feeble attempt to promote myself will be viewed by several, perhaps many, and I am already second guessing myself and the content.

The nice thing about guest blogging is that you can start and stop all you want, as the content does not go live the moment you submit it, unless you are invited to guest blog a ‘live’ interview.  For the most part, you can write your copy; stare at it for days, then edit, slash, burn, destroy and start all over again. Provided, that is, that your muse does not leave to get a cup of coffee and then decides to get said coffee in Costa Rica, leaving you alone in the Pacific Northwest. A muse is a funny creature; never around when you really and truly desire the help.   I cursed my muse.  I begged my muse.  I even offered bribes like an extra shot of Crown Royal, or a large gooey cinnamon roll.  Nothing worked.  I was stuck writing my guest blog copy alone, without a creative juice to be squeezed out of my desert dry brain.  I had all the adages from my childhood to fall back on.  You don’t start walking at birth, you learn how to.  You don’t start reading words, you start by learning letters.  Okay, I thought, I can do this…one step, and one letter at a time.

It was not as bad an experience as I first thought.  My guest blog copy is not earth shaking, nor is it ground breaking.  I do not offer a cure for hate and intolerance, there is no recipe linked.  Then again, that is not what I was asked to blog about in the first place.  I went to introduce myself as a new Author, with a first published book, in hopes of finding a new following for my style of writing, and the stories I want to tell. It was a first for me, and I will admit, I hope it is not the last.  Guest blogging is not open heart surgery even though your heart pounds with every word.  What it is, is the free association of words that move you, the blogger.  That is the advice I decided to take…free association of words that move me, the blogger.

You may offer your muse all manner of bribe and consideration, but in the end, it will be you, your words, that make the appearance as the guest blogger.  Perhaps, your muse will read what you managed to write without their help, and realize they can be replaced.  Just like your blog, your muse is subject to your whims of fancy.

View my guest blog here:

Note: koolqueerlit.com contains adult themed content and may not be suitable for anyone under the age of 17.

Muse Vacations

Earlier this March, I stubbed my toe on a huge writer’s block.  I labored to find the glacial means that dropped this erratic boulder in my path, but to no avail.  Nothing claimed responsibility for this behemoth.  I begrudged my fellow authors their muse, called my own muse names like miscreant and heretic.  I cried out hoping the wind would carry my despair, only to have it change direction and slam hard against my chest.  Aching under the pressure that the lost syllables applied to my already bruised and tortured ego, I acquiesced to the silence.

Then I stumbled upon a writing event.  Prompts and pictures posted for authors to grab in a free for all, to come away with a story that begged to be told.  I began to read through the prompts, languish over the pictures; until one caught my eye, then my imagination.  I felt the room begin to warm against the bitter chill in my writer’s mind. I checked my calendar…one day remained before I could claim my prompt/picture/prize.  That mattered not, as I knew I would write this story.  It was mine.

By the time the event kicked off with many an author claiming prompts for their stories, I had already gotten five thousand words for mine.  It hummed in my head and danced to thrilling notes of exaltation.  I worked the words into my laptop, crafting them, honing them, slashing them, rejoicing over them.  The story is written; the location firmly rooted, and the characters satisfied and anxious to meet the readers.

The story will go now to the moderator of the event and wait it’s turn to be presented to the readers.  My muse sits atop the dark cherrywood bookcase, panpipe in hand, and smiles.  The little vacation away from her charge has refreshed her soul.  Her melodious chants again fill my world and I am happy to report my stubbed toe is beginning to heal.

Single Syllables

Would that I had the words to express what is in my mind at most given times.  The thoughts alone cry out for representation, but the words can hide their voices from me.  I have placed such weight on the shoulders of words, asking them to carry me up and over this terrain of shattered paragraphs.  When the weight grows heavy and the thoughts cram close together, the words fail and I stumble along, able only to loose the single syllables upon the ground. Amazed that the thoughts remain clear, I am still at a loss for words.  One string of words, a sentence, is all I ask.  The single syllables rule my tired being.  Like damn, and lost.  To put them together to find the thought, they would run into each other…damn lost.  The thought retreats as the words do not come and I am left again with nothing to help articulate the jumble of thoughts in my mind.

Then sometimes, the words fall to the page without effort, and all is not lost. The world again rotates and spins. Hemingway walks into Maxim’s at 3 Rue Royale in Paris and orders a round of drinks for all, his hands full of francs. Life is good while the sun touches the smoke smudged windows of the little cafe.

So long as my muse does not again abandon me for the coast…

Orgasm of Clarity

The compilation of words to bring forth a thought constipated and repressed

Is like the perfect little orgasm of clarity.

Considered moments leading to culmination of expression

That singular release of disconnected pleasure.

Flashes of brilliant light to illuminate darkened sight

The mind clears to rush forth the words like seafoam over exposed feet.

I have tried for several days now to write. I have read like a madman, tried free association.  Even bought and ate chocolate…to no avail.  I can come up with a sentence or two, but I cannot connect the dots.  Where are the day to day hiding places of the muse?  Behind the sofa, under the bed, on the patio sitting in the sun?  I looked.  No luck. Perhaps my muse is sitting on my kitchen counter eating the rest of the chocolate covered almonds.

Until I find the words, I will roam the house like a concerned child; fretting, circling, waiting for the dryer to stop and the blanket returned to outstretched arms.

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