I’m not complaining, honest I’m not.
I know I sometimes write these rather coy-sounding messages about the Muse having visited me, and maybe the metaphor reads as pretty damned pretentious (or, as someone in an interview I read recently put it “this is going to make me sound like a dick”).
I can only apologise. That is how it feels to me; and I’m about to not just extend that metaphor but take it out for a long stroll as well. The Muse came to visit in mid-June, and she has stuck around ever since, running me ragged. I’m ecstatic, having her around all the time like this, but I am also getting really tired.
I’ve written about 14,000 words so far, and it’s still coming. On my ten minute walk into work in the morning, I think about the story. I run through dialogue, mouthing the characters’ words, to the amusement of passing bus drivers. In my lunch break I think about the story, and on my way home, and while I cook supper. I eat in the persona of one or the other of the protagonists, feeling the ghost of their muscles overlaying my own. The story is inhabiting me; I am possessed by it. And yet at the same time it is also constantly running ahead of me, teasing, springing out of reach when I hold out my hands to embrace it. I want to thump it. I want to grab it and pin it down. I want to yell at it; “Get yourself under control, godammit!”
Sometimes I want to tell this elusive mayfly of a Muse that I am getting too old for this kind of shenanigans. But I don’t; I never will. I’ll work all night, I’ll turn to drink, I’ll put down anything she gives me and I’ll be grateful.
When she goes away, sometimes it is for just long enough to give me a real notion of what life without her would be. Never again to know her blessed, blinding, mercurial presence; the thought is intolerable. So I toil on in her wake, following as fast as my weak human flesh will let me.
This latest visit, most nights sometime between midnight and one a.m. we have a conversation that goes something like this:
The Muse: (sharpish) You tired?
Me: >mumble< sorry >mumble< really sleepy.
The Muse: Holy sh*te, am I going to have to keep stopping for you like this? But we were right in the swing of things! C’mon, just a few pages more.
The Muse. Well buggeration. Okay, okay, go to sleep then...
I swear, it’s like being tormented by someone you love past all reason. And the gods only know what all this gives away about me, psychologically!
Whenever the Muse comes back after an absence, it is always with a new face. The sense of energy I feel when she arrives is exhilarating. It’s like being in love. All I want is to make something that is worthy of her and worthy of the face she has chosen. I’m not complaining; honest I’m not. I love this better than anything I’ve ever known. It is what I was made to do. But I wish I had more energy, and I wish there were more hours in the day.