Tag Archives: muse

Slippery Muse

“I feel like I am allowed to share with the world what I see.”
– Joel Robison, photographer

A while back, I saw the above quote when I was reading an article about Joel Robison, a photographer whose career had taken off practically overnight because of his photos that were noticed and purchased by the Coca-Cola company. While I’m not a photographer, that quote spoken by Joel with regard to his new booming career struck a chord with me. I knew exactly what he meant.  That’s how I feel about my writing – that beautiful feeling of seeing something and knowing that there is a story in it.  And then having the freedom and means to share that story with others.  I was excited to see someone put so simply into words exactly what I feel so often.  So, I quickly copied and pasted the quote into a new blog entry and saved it to my drafts to write about later.

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“Stuck Inside” by Joel Robison

And there it sat.

And sat.

*sigh*

And sat some more.

The quote was phenomenal and I knew I wanted to expand on it and blog about it, but I’ve just been kind of stuck.  Not only stuck on knowing what to write about regarding this particular quote, but just stuck in general.  I briefly mentioned my case of writer’s block in my last blog, but I sort of blamed it on how busy I’ve been lately.  (Which, mind you, I’m not saying doesn’t play a big role in it.)  But honestly, I don’t think that’s the only thing.  Once in a while, I just can’t quite grab on to that muse, you know?  I know she’s there.  She’s always there.  She sits there waiting patiently for me…whistling, twiddling her thumbs, trying not to be a nuisance.  But yet, for some unknown reason, my hands just can’t get the grip I need on that slippery little booger.  I try to reach for her, even think I’ve got a good hold every now and then, but lo and behold, she manages to slither right out of my hands. Oh, it’s not her fault. She hasn’t done anything wrong – hasn’t changed.

It’s me who can’t get a grip.

Well, a few weeks ago, I was honored to be a speaker at a local event called Night of the Spoken Word.  Eleven local writers were introduced individually and asked to read a 5-minute portion of one of their works. While I was excited to participate, I was also looking forward to the inspiration that I knew the night would bring.  For a writer stuck in a rut, there would be nothing better than to be surrounded by fellow writers – hearing their magical words flow through the room and feel them seep into my soul. I just knew this would be what would jumpstart my writing and get me back on track.

Well, guess what?  It didn’t.

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“Bookworm” by Joel Robison

Oh, I was inspired of course. I was in awe and full of admiration at all the talent that surrounded me, and beyond honored to be included among them.  But I got home and sat down at the computer and still…

Nothing.

Well, except maybe this one thing.

Something I had heard that night kept playing over and over in my mind. A fellow writer got up to read a poem he had written about a trip that he and his daughter had taken together when she was younger. As he gave the introduction to his poem – describing why he had written what he had – he said he had just had such a wonderful time with his daughter on the trip that when he got home, he sat down with pen and paper to write about it.  Specifically, the phrase he used was this:

I wanted to remember what that felt like.”
– Scot Pope

If it wouldn’t have been massively rude to whip out my cell phone during his reading, I would have done just that.  I would have went to my “notes” app on my phone and typed in what he said to remind me to go back and read it again later. (Oh, how many blogs I have written based on short, practically unintelligible “notes” from my phone…).  But, as luck would have it, I didn’t need to be rude and type it into my phone after all. I remembered it. I remembered it as I was leaving, I remembered it when I got home, and here I was remembering it almost two weeks later. I didn’t know why that meant so much to me, but it just wouldn’t leave my mind.

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“Short Stories” by Joel Robinson

And then, suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, one day it hit me.

Inspiration.

I hurried to my blog site and dug out that dusty old draft with the Joel Robison quote in it.  Looking at his quote, and comparing it with Scot Pope’s quote, I realized why I write. And realizing it made me appreciate it.  And appreciating it made me want to do it again. I hope these two remarkable, talented men won’t mind my combining their quotes by saying that writing, for me, is not only a way to remember what I felt when I saw something in this big, awesome world, but to also be able to tell people about it.  I feel something, and I no longer have to hold it inside.  I pour it out onto the computer screen, hit that little “publish” button, and suddenly, I’ve shared a piece of myself with you.  I’ve invited you into my memories.  Into my life lessons.

Into my heart.

Writing is who I am.  It just is.  When it’s missing, a piece of me is missing. And sometimes that does happen…sometimes I lose touch temporarily with who I am.  (As I’m sure we all are prone to do.)  But then, inevitably, Inspiration comes slipping in that door I left ajar yet again.  And quietly, without any noise or fanfare to speak of, she plants her little seed once more- whether through the eloquent words of a fellow writer, the majestic beauty of a talented photographer, or the kind words from a blog reader who lets me know that my words meant something to them – and I once again find myself back on the path towards home.

In closing, and as a thank you to each and every one of you, my vast array of seed-planters, I’d like to once again quote Joel Robison:

“So with that, I’d like to thank YOU for being a part of this big and small world. For looking at, enjoying, commenting and appreciating my work and what I do and for helping me find the path that I’ve found.”
– Joel Robison

Thank you all for your part in helping me to reach out and grasp that elusive muse with both hands, and hold her tight to me where she belongs. Thank you for helping me to find my way back to where I belong.  Thank you for helping me to remember who I am.

Ahhh.

All is well.

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“Wordly Balance” by Joel Robison

Muse

“I never exactly made a book. It’s rather like taking dictation. I was given things to say.”
– C. S. Lewis

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This writing thing is weird.

Let me explain…

Lately I have been in a bit of a slump in my life.  I have fallen out of love with something that used to be my biggest passion. My sanctuary.  My oasis.

Acting.

I actually stumbled across a poem I wrote years ago about how I felt about acting.  Mind if I share it with you?

Acting

My passion.

The feel of the hot lights on my face –
The way my heart beats wildly just before the curtain rises –
The adrenaline rush.

My escape.

Reality takes a back seat for two short hours –
Life’s problems are forgotten –
I am no longer me.

Scenes and emotions swirl around me
I get lost in the drama, the melodies;
Dilemmas are solved, Everyone is satisfied –
Happily ever after.

Not like the real world at all.

*sigh*

It makes me sad to read this.  The passion that I felt while writing this poem has managed to disappear somehow.  My escape from the stresses of everyday life has now become one of the stresses.  It has become work.  It has become tedious.  It has become a chore.

I’m just so tired.

Feeling something you once loved slowly slip over into something you dread is a very unsettling feeling.  It can really throw you off course.  Something that once defined you and made you who you are is no longer something you even like.  That’s crazy!  I mean, think about that for a minute.  If you don’t like the thing that defines you – the thing that you are, doesn’t that mean that you no longer like yourself?

Hmmm.  No wonder this has affected me so deeply.

So, my thoughts are weighted down with this heavy stuff this morning – feeling like I’m going to throw in the towel altogether on this whole acting business – when, as part of my normal morning routine habit, I check my blog stats.  Now, my stats show me how many views that each blog entry has received, including when the particular entry was last viewed, and it always surprises me when an older entry has been looked at.  It makes me wonder why.  Did someone remember it and look it up?  Did it show up in some kind of search results?  What called this old stuff to someone’s attention now?

This happened this morning, and the blog in question was the one entitled Burnout.

I saw that so many people had viewed it so, on a whim, I clicked on it myself and read it again.

Wow.  I wrote that?

At the time when I was writing it, I was talking about running.  But, reading it now, it blew my mind realizing how much I could take what I said and apply it to my acting.  There was a time that I felt like I would never run again.  But I was wrong.  After a much-needed break, I’m back.   I’m even thinking of signing up for another half marathon in November.  Being a runner is in my soul now.  It’s too late to turn back.  I couldn’t if I tried.  I’m a runner, whether I’m running or not.

Wait…what did I just say?

I’m a runner, whether I’m running or not.

Well.

Now, how about that?

I guess after re-reading that old blog entry, it’s safe to say that I can make the same assumption now.

I’m an actor, whether I’m acting or not.

No matter how much I feel like I’m ready to give it up, I’m not.  I just need a break.  I really needed that reminder.

Who knew that I would be turning to myself for advice?  It’s crazy, man.  I read this stuff and it’s almost like someone else wrote it.  At the time that I write these things, I’m tapping into a source of strength and energy that is not always there.  I’m not always positive.  I’m not always seeing the ‘silver lining.’  I’m not always someone who Chicken Soup for the Soul is ready to claim as one of their authors.  Believe me.  I can be just as grumpy and grouchy as the next guy.  But somewhere inside me is…well, I don’t know what.

A muse, maybe?

Oh heck, I don’t know what you call it.  But whatever it is, I sure am glad it’s there.  And I hope that the people reading this stuff can benefit from it the way that I have.

Sometimes I’m actually kind of proud of this thing I do.  I can’t wait to see where else it takes me.

***

“…Call it an angel
Call it a muse
 Call it karma that you’ve got comin’ to you
What’s the difference?
What’s in a name?
 What matters most is never ever losin’ faith
‘Cause it’s gonna be alright
You’re not alone tonight.”
– Keith Urban lyrics