A Thought for Every Word

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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.

 

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.

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