Pit of Despair


Calliope - Writing Muse

I’ve had company for the past three weeks. I sprained my ankle. The dog chewed up the chord to my laptop. I’ve been sick. I had other things to do. I’m not in the mood. I have a headache…this list of excuses could go on and on.

Some of this is true, most of it is a smoke screen. A litany of excuses.

I haven’t written a blog entry because the muse has left. She packed her bags without so much as a by your leave and took off on vacation. I suppose she headed to a tropical location. Sitting on the beach, her elfish features causing people to stare a little longer than polite. I wonder what kind of problems she is causing. Has she given her mischievous grin that elongates her ears, makes her hair sparkle and her face soften? If she did that while sitting on a beach with a Pina colada in hand, it would be enough to cause hurricane like scenarios. But I’m not blaming her for Hurricane Joaquin, muses don’t cause disasters like that. (I don’t think.) Either way, I don’t imagine she would ruin her vacation.

I have been rummaging around trying to find inspiration while she’s gone. I’ve tried clicking my heels together three times, perhaps the power has been within me all along. That just made my four year old stare at me with a scrunched up face, as if to say “dude, all I want is a grilled cheese sandwich.”

I’ve lit candles in the moonlight and called to the four winds “Calliope…sing to me O muse…”

Okay, maybe I didn’t take it that far, I mean I thought about it, but then I started to do research on which night would be the best to make such an offering and after a hour of reading about Saturn in the sun house of Orion who moved out to be with his girlfriend Mercury whose moon standing on the fifteenth day of the month was negative in a positive way…I just called the dog back into the house and canceled the moonlight dancing, which disappointed the dog who had worked himself up into a frenzy, ready to partake of the nights activities.

I’ve read books by authors, watched TED talks, pinned inspirational quotes from Pinterest, which as it turns out, might be more of a time suck than an inspirational tool. The jury is still out on that one, I’ll have to spend a few more years on ye old Pinterest to find out.

Then, then, I was lucky enough to go hear two of my favorite authors speak: Anthony Doerr, a local writer from Boise whose book just won the Pulitzer Prize this year and whose writing I have admired for a long while now and Jess Walter, another Pacific Northwest author from Spokane whose book Beautiful Ruins caught me by the jugular the moment I began reading and didn’t let go for a few days after I finished the book.

They each read an original short story they’d written, had a conversation between the two of them about writing and such and answered questions from the audience. Their stories were wonderful. I was driven to depression and new heights, a strange mixture to be sure. The words and description and imagery carried me into the rafters, I could not sit back in my seat as they spoke and my hands turned white as I gripped the hand rest and the glory of a writer doing his thing twirled about with phrasing and alliteration and the fun of it all.

A few ideas, none that I would call inspirational but rather interesting ones have found a record playing type of thought provocation. Mainly, the fun of it all.

I’ve said it before, I write because I have to and because it’s fun. The more I write, the more I have for people to read and the natural evolution has become submitting my work and trying to get published. A byproduct that has spewed out of this process is a strange fear of success and failure entwined like a wicked tree in some fairy tale forst. Sadly, I’ve allowed all this submitting and the strange waiting game that I’ve been plunged into to shadow my original goal.

Art for the sake of art.

Art to move the soul.

Art because it’s so damn fun.

What could be better than turning this:

“I slept awful last night and I’m exhausted today.”

Into this:

In between moments of fitful dreams I fought with my sheets, desperate to win a comfortable position for my anxieties; but my bed proved resilient in its battle and now I must spend my waking hours shuffling around in a zombified state.

My muse is still on vacation, I received an empty postcard from her, the picture of white sands, surreal azure waters and endless sunshine with a tacky “wish you were here!” scrawled across the top in a tacky font. She might be teaching me a lesson here, seeing if I can pull myself out of my own pit of despair, or she could be just being her fickle self.

Either way.


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