A conversation with my muse

Sarah Siddons as Dennis' Muse

Sarah Siddons as Dennis’ Muse

Dennis: There’s a story I want to write. But, every time I begin, it never goes anywhere. I’m not certain if it’s a novel, a memoir, biography, personal essay, what. But, there is a story. I know there is. It keeps nagging me.

Sarah: When it nags you, what do you do?

Dennis: I avoid it.

Sarah: Because?

Dennis: I think I see the whole piece—the finished project—in my mind. And then I figure I’m not up to it. It’s driving me crazy.

Sarah: Oh, Dennis. Don’t be melodramatic. What makes you crazy?

Dennis: Avoidance. I’m annoyed that I keep avoiding it. Keep putting it off. I want to write it but I don’t know how to start. And I feel guilty for not writing. I don’t know what to do.

Sarah: Do? What to do? Write, of course. Just sit down and write. Let it come and see where the story takes you.

Dennis: I knew you’d say that.

Sarah: I’m serious. You don’t need anything special. No props, no writing courses, no degrees in writing. Nothing. You just need the desire to write. And, you have to make a commitment to write.

Dennis: Well, that’s easy for you to say. I’m not even sure the story is worth writing. I think it is; but, I’m not sure. That’s why am here talking to you. The whole thing makes me crazy. Worst case, I guess writing is good therapy. Like telling you.

Sarah: What is a muse for?

Dennis: Then there’s the the silence. When I sit down to write and nothing comes. What about the silence?

Sarah: The silence can be as productive as writing. How do you feel in the silence? What are your thoughts about the silence? Just because you think what comes doesn’t have anything to do with the story you want to write doesn’t mean it isn’t valid. Maybe the story you think you want to write is not the story you’re supposed to write. The fact is, you don’t know. And the not knowing is where the story is.

Dennis: That’s good. I like that. Hard to do, though. Just sitting down and writing. It’s too much like taking dictation. I’ve done that. What comes out is garbage. I don’t like it. I don’t want to do that.

Sarah: The writer doesn’t have a choice. The writer has to write what comes. You have an idea about a story you want to write. Once you begin putting words on paper, the words are no longer yours. The story is no longer yours. The story belongs to the universe. The universe dictates the story. The universe knows the story it wants to tell; and, it has chosen you to tell it.That’s a difficult concept, I know. It’s difficult because it requires trust. Trust in the process. There is nothing more you can do. So now, why don’t you tell me the story. How does it begin?

0 thoughts on “A conversation with my muse

  1. Donnee Patrese

    Ah yes, I have had similar conversations with my muse. Two weeks ago I just could not start on my third novel. the advice your muse gave you is similar to what mine gave me. I just had to write. Eventually It all came to me and I was able to start. Great Post!

    Reply
    1. Dennis Post author

      Thanks for sharing your insight. Always nice to know one is not alone in this writing enterprise. Good luck with number three!

      Reply
  2. Joan Raymond

    Dennis,
    You have captured so beautifully a conversation most of us have experienced at least once while writing (sometimes daily). This point is somewhere between inspiration and putting pen to paper.

    “The universe knows the story it wants to tell; and, it has chosen you to tell it.”

    Such a big responsibility we all have as writers. I suggest you write your story, then look back and realize YOU were been chosen to write it. Fulfill the responsibility and privilege given to you by the universe.

    Joan

    Reply
    1. Dennis Post author

      Thank you for your eloquent and thoughtful response to my post. “Fulfill the responsibility and privilege given to you” is an awesome mandate. Thank you, Joan.

      Reply
  3. Annis

    Dennis, I love how you wrote this piece in dialog; very effective. Yep. Trust the story and the process. I want to read your story, so get writing. xoA

    Reply
  4. iola

    Wow, I had this same conversation last night almost word for word. My distraction sits right in front of me, and it is called the internet. I have decided to limit time to 20 minutes in the morning and evening and use a timer to keep me mindful. Love the dialogue.

    Reply
  5. Dennis Post author

    For me, it’s the internet and everything else. The most insignificant things become major time sucks. I’m pleased you like the writing style. Thanks for commenting.

    Reply
  6. Mark Fisher

    Sometimes I’ve used the silence itself as inspiration for something new. I have piles of sheets with notes scribbled and sometimes I just shuffle them and get surprised at the things that go together that I thought were separate stories.

    Reply
  7. Terry Redman

    Ah, yes it is that seizing belief that I can write the vision I have in mind that’s hard. I had not thought of the universe taking possession before, good insight. TR

    Reply

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