The Muse (On Writing & Editing)

We take certain things for granted I think. Art especially, I guess. One reason I think Art is criticized is because children seem to be so good at it, predisposed to it in fact. The force of shame is a remnant of the Industrial Age, where men were supposed to do man’s work and woman were supposed to stay home. Thinking about it, this may only apply to the rich folks, poor people have to work all the time. Maybe it is this confused historical paradigm which has lead to Art being seen as such a base, sophomoric pursuit. All that is probably subject for another blog, what I want to writer about is the figure of the Muse.

In Homer and other ancient works the muse is invoked at the begging of the poem. This idea had carried into the present if you look close enough. Read a bit of the writers talking about their process and the Muse will come up.

What is the Muse? It is this strange sense one gets when doing Art, where you sort of turnover to this purely creative force, which can speak and act on its own. The writer can become possessed as it were, by the Muse, and stuff can sort of just bubble out?

Now as you play with this you begin to realize the Muse is a lot like you! Whouda thunk it? So this means, it likes what you like, chocolate, coffee, music, good smelling incense and candles. So you realize quickly that if you share some of your goodies with the Muse that the gift can kick it into high gear, in your own work.

Be cautious though. Don’t see the Muse as some hedonist that if you overdose on chocolate it’ll give you a Masterpiece. The Muse does not like to be fucked with. That means it appreciates a tight, closely followed schedule. If you really want it to show up for you, you’re best to show up everyday.

I also believe it is the Muse that requires as the extracurricular reading as well. For two points, one the pleasure principle we first discussed. Second though and more importantly it wants you to beware of certain works, so that you don’t go wasting its time trying to rehash the same old thing. The Music is a critic and rational. Sloppy business will begin to agitate it. This is connected to writer’s block I imagine, and it is the Muse which is doing the blocking.

The Muse is a free agent, and the business is good. It is best to recognize this and be very considerate of your Muse. When proper order is maintained a healthy relationship can occur. If its not found, things can be dangerous. A runaway Muse can be deadly, no more evidence of that is needed than the deadly history of Rock and Roll. Breaking up with the Muse, or worse fighting the Muse, all can have disastrous ends. Therefore it is helpful to recognize what you’re dealing with, and don’t be demanding. Offer the gifts to the gods and then write it as it comes!

Source for Nine Muses:

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Michael Moorcock: How to Write a Novel in 3 Days


Great post! Tips for writing quickly, and demystifying the writing process.

Originally posted on Interesting Literature:

Ever fancied writing a novel, but don’t have oodles of spare time to set aside for such a thing? Michael Moorcock, a hugely influential and prolific writer, has the solution. Those of you who like the idea of #NaNoWriMo (or National Novel-Writing Month), but would rather set aside a few days to write rather than a whole month, may like ‘the Moorcock method’.

For over fifty years now, Moorcock has been a significant writer in a number of genres, notably fantasy, science fiction, and horror, although he’s also written more ‘literary’ works, such as Mother London (1988). Here at Interesting Literature we’re avid fans of his work. Moorcock is famous, in writing circles, for being able to write a book in three days. He wrote many of his early fantasy novels at such high speed. (It goes without saying that he wouldn’t have time to do much else in those three…

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Snippets #9

A. Lee Martinez-In The Company of Ogres

The homunculus droned on for hours. His squeaky voice grated on Ned’s ears and stood his hair on end. The demonic bookkeeper chanted his depraved dirge to the powers of infernal accounting, and an evil spell settled on Ned’s office. The scroll unfolded, filling the floor with line after line of cost cutting and expense trimming. The walls melted. Cruel imps cavorted in the shadows. The hourglass on the desk ran backward. And Ned could almost hear the distant howls of the damned.

The homunculus grew. The demon fed off Ned’s suffering and his agonizing boredom fed the homunculus well. By the end, he’d grown a foot taller, his skin had turned a brighter shade of red, and his tiny horns and curled into into impressive ornament. Ned hunched in his chair, drooling, with debits and credits poking at his brain with wee pitchforks

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Snippets #8

R.S. Belcher-The Six-Gun Tarot

Bick sighed. “However, I didn’t count on the growing interference of lawyers, regulators, bureaucrats and politicians into my business. I swear it seems that every year they stick their noses into more and more.”

Lucifer chuckled. “Sorry about that–I outdid myself there.”

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Snippets #7

R.S. Belcher- The Six-Gun Tarot

The old man’s beard was white, like sunlight reflecting off ice. It fell almost to his knees and stood out in stark contrast to his silk robe of shimmering emerald. His eyes spilled out into the shadow, black water moving under a moonless sky. He was Chinese and the four men who ringed him all bore tattoos like Jim’s pursuer. They held hatchets in their hands, low at their sides, emerald ribbons fluttering.

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What can you #write in Ten #Sentences ? #heywriters


“One don’t talk to me like that,” he said. “Two, you put that that money back in your purse, and shut it up there. The women held the three things clumsily, the five grand, a phone, and here small purse.
“LIsten John,” she said, “you been bugging me for five months for this cash. Now I give it to ya, and you eighty-six it?”
“Listen Carol, you and Mike have owed me money for the last Twenty years, all right?”
“Mikes, been in the hospital seven months, after five of those, I started hearing this all.”
“Carol, lets be reasonable you take twenty-five hundred, and then you just give me a four or five dates, all right?”
“You got me once John,” Carol said, “leave it at that.”
“How about the hundred grand I put in that house?” She grabbed her pack of cigarettes out of the purse and fumbled and dropped four into the cup holder. John picked up one and sparked it.

Originally posted on Daily (w)rite:

I’ve been botching up taking an open online creative writing course from Iowa Writer’s workshop. It is in its last week, and after doing the first two classes, I mostly missed out on all the others. I traveled, worked on stuff at home, basically did anything but write.

I’ve missed the deadline for the writing assignment in the last class, so I thought I would make a fool of myself by doing it here, in public. Here’s the assignment:

Write a scene of ten sentences and include in each sentence a numeral. If you’ve reached ten sentences and you’d like to keep going, you can make this a scene of twenty sentences, or thirty — the idea is just to write within this pattern. Example: On the day my town flooded, I was ten years old. It was four o’clock in the morning. In the darkness, right before…

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Snippets #6

Shirley Jackson- We Have Always Lived in The Castle

I still could not see him clearly, perhaps because he was a ghost, perhaps because he was so very big. His great round face, looking so much like our father’s, turned from Constance to Uncle Julian and back, smiling and opening its mouth to talk. I moved as far into my corner as I could, but finally the big face turned at me.
“WHy, there’s Mary,” it said. “Good morning, Mary.”
I put my face down to Jonas.
“Shy?” he asked Constance. “Never mind. Kids always take to me.”
Constance laughed. “We don’t see many strangers,” she said.

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Snippets #5

Justin Torres- We The Animals

The Magic of God is three.
We were the magic of God.
Manny was the Father, Joel the Son, and I the Holy Spirit. The Father tied the Son to the basketball post and whipped him with switches while the Son asked, “Why, Paps, why?”

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