Thursday, September 02, 2004

Pussywhipped by my own Muse

You can try to beat the muse, but you'll fail. I know this. I've learned it through various lessons before. When a writer's muse starts to whisper sweet nothings in your ear, you'd better tell E.F. Hutton to shut the hell up and listen to your muse instead, because he doesn't like to be ignored. He'll speak (and has) at the most inopportune times. While having dinner with my wife. While reading my kids a story. During a shower. In the middle of client meetings, in the middle of sleep, in the middle of sex.

But I have to listen, because the shit that comes out of my muse's mouth... well, I just have to listen. If you understand why, then I don't need to write anything else, and if you don't understand why, then nothing I can tell you will even come close to an explanation. I need to listen.

I've posted previously that I was working on a short story called Happy the Man. Nothing too lengthy; mostly notes and loose direction of where I thought things might start and end, with plenty of breathing room for my characters to do their own thing and ignore my requests anyway.

But last night my muse didn't whisper.

It didn't raise its voice and talk in a stern manner.

No, last night it fucking SCREAMED at me about this one, and I ran cowering to a corner, pen and notepad in shaking hands to jot down whatever it told me.

And so this morning, over red-rimmed eyes, I'm brewing my SECOND pot of coffee and have a very solid outline for a screenplay instead of a short story.

This sort of pisses me off a bit, as I was really psyched to get into the short story, and I actually tried to talk him out of doing the screenplay first, but my muse is unforgiving.

Conversation went thus:

Me: C'mon, can't I just write the short first? That scene toward the end when he grabs the thing, you know... I will make that kick ass! Trust me. After the short's done, I'll adapt it to —

Muse: No.

Me: Why not? I can —

Muse: I don't think so. You'll do the screenplay first. If you want to play around with a short, then you'll do that when this is done.

Me: But I —

Muse: No.

At which point, I tucked my tail between my legs and did what I was told.

As I've mentioned before, when the muse speaks, you listen.

I start the screenplay tonight.


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