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Why I Killed My Muse ...
And You Should Too
night in the dark following midnight I killed my muse
(suffocating her quietly with a pillow) and buried her in
my back garden. Today I will plant a roses to hide the
grave. No one will ever know and I will be free at last
of her insidious hold and I will be able to write what I
Why did I resort to this deed? After all my muse was
lovely and gave me many gifts over the years. She saw me
through dark times and helped mark the joyous ones. Many
times she inspired me to reach for more and push myself
beyond what I thought I could achieve. Knowing all this
why would I kill the very source of my inspiration?
Oh, I had my reasons...
It started out quietly. As I would sit at my keyboard or
curl up with a notebook, she would perch on my shoulder
as was her wont to do. "I don't think you meant to
write that sentence," she would whisper in my ear.
"That doesn't sound like the best description,"
she would snipe. "Is that the best you can do?"
she would sneer.
I took to sneaking my writing in when I knew she was
occupied elsewhere. She never could resist critiquing the
writing in the morning paper if it was left spread on the
kitchen table. That way I could sometimes write several
pages before she began her commentary. "Surely you
can find a better way to approach this topic," her
mocking voice would interrupt. "That has been so
Soon I was spending more time arguing with her, defending
my words, than I was writing. Then my production slowed
to a crawl as I would overanalyze each word choice and
sentence formation before committing it to screen or
paper. All that did was give her more time to find fault
with the few words I did write.
Despite urgent deadlines and simmering ideas, I started
avoiding the computer and all writing materials. I
cleaned my house. I read for hours on end. I made plans
for a new garden. The need to write built within me but
always my muse was watching me with those eyes -- so
judgemental, so critical. I would turn away from my
office with a sigh and find some other project.
When I could no longer suppress the urge to write I
locked her in a closet and had a wonderfully productive
morning. I was so happy with my work that I let her out
as I went out the door to run some errands. That just
made her mean.
She was waiting for me at the door when I came home. Her
glasses had slid nearly to the tip of her nose and
somehow she'd found a red pencil (I certainly never
brought any such thing into the house). I shuddered at
the sight of my happy morning's labor marred by vicious
slashes of red. The red blurred before my eyes into a
crimson haze and then...
Perhaps it is better that you don't know the details.
Suffice it to say that I have selected several
old-fashioned roses with luscious aroma and delicate
coloring. I am sure they will provide both inspiration
Despite my late hours and the physical toil involved,
this morning I awoke early and have already logged in
several hours at the keyboard. My fingers flew across the
keys and after completing several long-stagnant projects
I outlined notes for some new. Writing is joyful and
I think I might dedicate this next book to the memory of
my muse. Perhaps it will serve as a warning to those
other muses out there who are on the verge of going over
the edge. Perhaps it will inspire those other writers out
there who have let their muse stifle their creativity and
shove them right into writer's block. Maybe my warning
will mean those other muses and their writers will find a
way to work things out.
Deanna Mascle has been teaching and writing
professionally for more than 20 years. Find more articles
about writing at Word Craft at http://Word-Craft.info
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