Monday, August 21, 2006

I think my muse has a bad connection.

Writing is a funny thing. Sometimes, an idea drops fully formed out of the clear blue sky, complete with plot, title, and narrative voice, and you grab the nearest writing implement, scribbling furiously for fear you’ll forget it. More often than not, though, what you get’s a little garbled. A phrase. A name. A snippet of dialogue. It rattles around in your head like a half-remembered melody; worse, in fact, since there is no melody yet – it’s up to you to make one up. And not just any melody, mind you. The right one.

The other day, while I was at work, I was struck with an idea for a title: Seven Days of Rain.

That’s all well and good, I thought, but I’m kind of busy right now, what with work and all.

Seven Days of Rain, my muse replied.

Yes, that’s very nice, I thought, but ‘seven days of rain’ is hardly a comprehensive outline, now, is it? Also, I'm very nearly finished with my novel, so I couldn't possibly take on anything else. I’m afraid I’ll have to pass.

Seven Days of Rain! My muse was clearly losing patience. Believe me, the last thing you need is a pissed-off muse – next thing you know, you’ll be feverishly jotting down a treatment for Weekend at Bernie’s 3.

All right, all right, I thought, Seven Days of Rain. I got out a Post-it and jotted it down, certain it’d disappear into the sea of indecipherable bits of paper that litter my apartment, imparting such nuggets of wisdom as “Write about squirrel – make it funny” or “Zombie protagonist!”

This evening, I put the finishing touches on a short story entitled Seven Days of Rain. I literally sat down at the computer with not a thought in the world but to prove to my muse that I had no idea what in the hell Seven Days of Rain would be about, and next thing I knew, there it was. It took a few days to finish and polish, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t pretty good. As of right now, it’s at the mercy of the USPS.

For anyone who’s counting, that’s five stories out the door. Five stories, and a novel on the way. Now it’s just a matter of time.