A friend of mine made a comment the other day about how much she talks to me in her head (and assumably, my head). I laughed and said something about ‘background chatter’. Later, she wanted to make sure that she was not the reason for all the ‘boxes piled up in my head.’ And I had to tell her that the boxes were always there, only the names on them changed.
That got me to thinking. There’s a lot that goes on in my head, as I am sure goes on in every other creative person’s mind (and probably other people too). I’ve even named some of them, as they are strong enough to have personalities of their own (No, no, not Eve — we’re not talking true MPD here). Some of those become characters in my stories, and some of them simply give birth to characters in my stories. Of course, then I have all the characters up there as well, at least as long as I am writing about them — sometimes longer if I happen to decide I’m done before they are. If only I could find a way to charge them all rent….. I’d have millions, I think.
An artist is supposed to have a Muse, that soul spark of creativity that whispers dreams in our ear, that years to be brought to life through whatever medium we’ve chosen — writing, music, sculpture, dance. How do you find your muse when you have a crowd like that to look through everyday?
The answer, at least for me, is I don’t. While my muse occasionally hunts me down and explains to me what she wants me to do, more often than not, she is content giving me little slivers of information and then letting me mull over them until the idea sneaks up and pounces on me. I understand she does a better job of staying in communication with my characters and many semi-personalities (I think grown ups call them imaginary friends now days). My characters are all too willing to tell me what I should do. Which is why sometimes I ignore them and then go through several frustrating days of writer’s block until they decide to start speaking to me again.
My muse is like the girl you see in the bar or club. She looks perfectly normal and average and she’s not doing or wearing anything that would make her stand out. She’s a quiet presence in the room who spends most of her time watching and cataloging others. You didn’t see her come in, and you may not notice when she leaves, but as long as she’s there, you’ll feel sort of a quiet comfort that all is right with the world, and when she moves on, you may wonder what it is you suddenly feel like you’re missing — but without quite being able to call it loneliness.