Take an exquisite dream, throw in peppermint mocha coffee on waking, the right music, and about two hours all to myself and I have literary progress!
Are you a writer? A musician? A visual artist? How many times have you felt petulant toward your fickle muse? I said to my friend and fellow writer Diana Mylek this week, “My muse ran off with another writer.” I might have to take that back after this morning. My muse came back and totally swept me off my feet.
I’d attempted NaNoWriMo in November 2010 – I’ve participated on and off for several years – and I quickly realized my story idea didn’t have enough legs to make it as a novel. Short story? Perhaps. So I saved the very rough draft and promised myself I wouldn’t stew about it too much.
Early this morning, I had a dream that lit the blow torch of creativity. The dream was short, and exquisite in its simplicity. And as soon as I threw the kids out the door for school, I got my cup of coffee, put Howie Day and Chris Rice on “loop” on iTunes, and wrote.
I didn’t just want to write the story. I needed to write it. And when I felt it was done, I had such an adrenaline rush going I was shaking. Like I’d just staggered off the Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point. Legs, gelatinous. Hands, vibrating. Moments like that have been rare in my writing life, but it was astonishing in its intensity.
Just 506 words…alive with color, smell, texture and temperature. Same main characters from November. Brand new energy and perspective. This is a day to thank God for every book I’ve ever read, every teacher who’d ever encouraged me, and every event or person – good, bad, and ugly – who has provided “inspiration” (also known as “material”). In this case, the inspiration was very good, and very beautiful.
There are writers who swear up and down that the secret to success is sitting down and writing, every day, whether you like it or not. Whether you feel like it or not. Well, I DO write every day. From news releases to blog entries, prayers to personal essays. The thing is, my brain doesn’t latch onto any one thing in particular. The subject and the substance and the words come when they are damn good and ready. Sometimes, it’s frustrating (or flat-out depressing).
Sometimes, like today, it rocks. Can we go again?