Jello Brain, Left (Logic) and Right (Creativity) on Plates.
I often refer to “my muse” or “the muse.” Henceforth, I will just refer to “Muse” as if it were another person. Muse exists in my head, almost like a person and without it, my writing would be non-existent at worst, or dull and boring at best.
Often, I will see something unexpected and Muse paints images in my brain to make up a mini-story. Not quite flash fiction in most cases, but something to go with the images I am observing. Usually it happens in the space of a few seconds, but sometimes it takes place over a longer period of time.
And sometimes, if conditions are right, Muse writes without painting pictures or images. Recently, I was visiting “Writing With Both Sides of My Brain,” one of my favorite blogs and written by Angela Masters Young. Angela spends a lot of time musing over the two sides of her brain, fondly named Gram and Imma.
Gram is Angela’s left brain, very stogy sort of and all for grammar and correctness and doing things “right.” Imma is a free spirit who paints pictures with words and only listens to Gram because Angela makes her listen. Imma is just as stubborn as Gram and doesn’t let Gram’s rules “muck up the pretty prose,” as I’ve noted once before.
In a recent post titled “Imma’s Challenge,” Angela challenged us to completely turn off our left brains and let our creative half do all the work without worry about rules or limits. Or at least, that was Muse’s interpretation. We could write a poem or a story or…
Left brain (lets call him Joe) sarcastically thought, “Right. I have time to do more writing.” I scrolled down to the comment box and was going to leave a humorous remark. I made note of my weekly word-count goal, hit enter twice to start my joke and something magical happened.
At this point, I’m going to ask you to skip over to “Imma’s Challenge” and read the post and my comment. Then come back and I’ll tell you all about it. Go ahead, we’ll just fill up the coffee mugs here while you’re over there reading. Then just keep the second browser tab open so you can refer back to the comment.
I hit enter twice and my fingers paused, then started typing. I type fast, usually about 80-90 words a minute when I get going. I just started typing and words came fast and simple and flowed and I had no idea where it was going or what I was writing. It was almost scary. I would say it took a minute and half to two minutes to complete. I saw a mistake when it was over. A technical error and went to fix it, but then I left it. Imma’s challenge was to let go of the rules and just create, which is what I did, and so I did not fix the errors.
The first stanza is about poetry and writing poetry. Using poetry you can laugh and cry, or even die. The words flow on a rhythm like the tides or a heartbeat or the days passing. Writing encompasses powerful moments and when Muse is in the groove, there is no stopping it, just as there is no stopping the ocean’s tide and you ride that wave until it’s all out. What’s more, you must do it. You must abide your calling to put the words on paper.
The second stanza is about the art of poetry, something I struggle with. To create more than four or five lines is just not me. Sometimes a short verse or two, but rarely. That day, my right brain had the helm and wasn’t letting go. The only way to stop the tide of words is to write them and abide that creative side. And if you do that, and share your creativity, your words live forever, long after you are gone.
Imma addresses Gram directly in the third verse. She tells Gram not to interrupt her genius with rules and to just let the whole thing out. Gram can fix it up later if she wants to, but Imma is telling Gram to stay out of her hair while she gets it done.
Gram scoffs at Imma a little in the fourth and final verse. She points out that Imma would create a mess all by herself and that she needs Gram. Then Gram acknowledges that Imma is the creative one and she wants Imma to write. “Get on with it then,” she tells Imma, “and fill the world with your words.”
I love to write as many of you already know. Angela has opened a new perspective on writing for me with her blog and it makes me think. I’ve given a lot of thought to my right and left brains thanks to her. Muse on the right, Joe Friday on the left–just the facts ma’am. They don’t meet in the middle on most days, they meet a little right of center and I think Muse is a little more stubborn than Joe.
Thanks for reading and keep writing.
Copyright © 2012 MJ Logan Writer All Rights Reserved
No republication without expressly written consent.
Angela has not posted for a long time, but I see her on social media. Here is the original poem, left as a comment on her blog post and unedited as it was written in 2012.
I laughed, I cried
I nearly died
and then I sighed
and went to ride
the ocean’s tide
and did abide
the wave’s endless call.
I wrought, I tried
A poet’s ride
can stop the tide
if you abide
he laughed, he sighed
but never died
His spirit lived on forever.
“Gram,” she sighed
and rolled her eye
don’t stop the tide
don’t let it die
this poet’s ride
I must abide
to laugh and cry
We don’t need no stinkin grammar.
“Imma Dear,” you silly goose,
trouble caused you let it loose
That comma there
Oh please don’t stare
You’d never sell artistic ware
if not for me how would it fare?
ride the tide dear poet bide
and let your words fill the air.
I miss the days when a group of writers that first gathered on a now-defunct content farm commiserated and held each other up. We subscribed to each other’s blogs and visited often to read their inspiration, and sometimes, found inspiration in their writing as was the case for me in the post by Angela.
Days gone past and left behind. Some of those blogs still exist and the writers are active. Others gather dust as the writers moved on to greener fields, brighter. Some have taken a new step into a realm beyond our seeing or suffered unimaginable loss that no one else can understand or feel.
Life’s uncertainty means we need to have our life in order and our bags packed, ready to leave at a moment’s notice. But we must also live this life as fully as possible. Every time I hear that an old friend has gone, I am filled with sadness, but then I remember the things they wrote. The social media posts. All the parts of the person that were not writing. And sometimes, I find inspiration in the words they once wrote.