Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Playing It Safe with the Muse

"Of all the ways writers find to waste time, waiting for the muse to show up has to be the most common, and fruitless, of them all."  Robert Masello from Robert's Rules of Writing (Rule 9:  Lose the Muse)

I think "the muse" is good old fashioned imagination--nothing more, nothing less.  And imaginations can create great stories all by themselves, or be inspired by some form of external stimulation.  A talk show topic, news story, conversation, painting or photograph can easily get those creative juices flowing.  And just asking the question "what if?" in any situation can open the door to a fascinating narrative.

Not only do I think of imagination as "the muse," I see it as "the safest muse."  Finding this elusive creature in a bottle or a pill (or a combination of the two) can lead to devastating circumstances. 

Unfortunately, many of the greatest American writers were alcoholics.  Several died young from complications due to their addictions, while others committed suicide, or attempted it, often more than once. 

Did their addictions enhance their artistic abilities, or was alcohol just used as way to self medicate from the other problems in their lives?

Here's's Top 15 Alcoholic Writers:

15.  Hunter Thompson
14. Raymond Chandler
13.  John Cheever
12.  O. Henry
11.  Tennessee Williams
10.  Dylan Thomas
  9.  Dorothy Parker
  8.  Edgar Allan Poe
  7.  Truman Capote
  6.  Jack Keroac
  5.  William Faulkner
  4.  Charles Bukowski
  3.  F. Scott Fitzgerald
  2.  James Joyce
  1.  Ernest Hemingway

I don't know about you, but based on the lives of some of the aforementioned writers, I think playing it safe with "the muse" can lead to a longer, healthier, happier life!

What do you think?

Tweet me @:maria_mckenzie.  Thanks for stopping by!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hi Maria. Yeah, I've never gotten the muse thing. The way I see if, it all depends on my mood. If I have thing on my mind of a personal nature, work, etc., then I'm less likely to write. If there are no distractions or brain worms, then my mood is better and I'm willing to open my mind and use it for the benefit of my writing. I find keeping a notebook and pen in different places around the house, in my purse, and in the car is the best thing I can do for the times I allow my imagination to do it's work. Great post. Take care.