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.
Photo of Jello Brains by Scott at Flickr.com
Copyright 2012 MJ Logan. All rights reserved. No republication without express written consent.
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