Tunes for a Monday Morning
The madness of art

Courting the muse

Morning mist on Meldon Hill

"Instead of discussing with myself every morning whether I feel inspired or not, I step into my office every day at nine sharp, open the window and politely ask the muse to enter and kiss me. Sometimes she comes in, more often she does not. But she can never claim that she hasn’t found me waiting in the right place.”  - Peter Prange

Image above: Early morning view from the studio.


Morning, Terri - I find that the straight-forward approach doesn't always work with the muse. It's remarkably like approaching Baba Yaga - you've got to be both canny and honest, in a complex dance whose steps are made by the moment. I'm no expert, but I wrote a bit about it last year on the Coyopa blog and it seemed to tickle a few feathers of recognition:

Now, back to the writing...

Hmmm, I'm right now skirting around what might be the final Talesingr story. I've got the vague idea of where I want it to go, but I'm gently probing for the pathway at the moment, hoping it will be revealed in all its complexity. I feel it's a bit like tracking an animal (at least, how I imagine it to be, never having tracked anything at all!) I have to go quietly and gently, following where it leads instead of rushing in, because if I do that, I'll miss really important clues and story lines, and the end result will be so much poorer. Though I think I know where it might be heading, it's no use going straight there and waiting for it to turn up. I have to follow its meandering path through the forest, step into its footprints, hear the bird song it hears, smell the smell of damp earth, see the sunlight dappling through. It takes longer, but the end result will be so much better, and who knows what other treasure I might find on the way.

I *love* that piece, Tom.

I'm looking forward to your return from the journey, story in hand.

"I'm not lucky. I show up."--David Stemple


Aaaah, the muse. A tricky thing. I sat down and asked the muse to come in recently, and she did just that. I had a wildly creative 3 days (and sleepless nights as she just wouldn't let me sleep) and by the end was frazzled and exhausted and bursting with smugness because I felt I had created my best piece yet. A real 'coming of age piece'. Oh the joy I felt. I did a happy dance and congratulated myself on the cleverness of me.

The customer didn't like it.

I am still struggling to pick myself up off the floor :(

Don't worry, Danielle. The happened to me once...and it turned out the piece was *really* meant for someone else, who treasures it. So get up off the floor, dear, and rejoice -- you've had a break-through! Hooray! I can't wait to see it.

Wow, I love that quote. And you've supplied me with that great misty hills image of inspiration - the sort that pollinates the inklings in me and pop out sometime in the future. I'm storing away all the seeds for when I'm back at RavenWood ( currently in Florida for two weeks caring for my Mom post-surgery... intense). There's a longing in me to be in the studio, but I also know the transition home will mean I need to show up in the studio for a few days and wait for the muse. I've enjoyed the posts and conversations, but haven't had the time or presence to be a contributor! Be well, Valerianna

Awww. That David.

I'm sure your woods are longing to welcome you back. Hope all is well with your mum. Sending love and light to you both.

Confession. I am fine with sending out poems, stories, readings, and writing some poems and stories some-one has requested. Submission = rejection or acceptance. Send again. But my muse danced me up and down the hills and gullies of a long, long immersion, and I came out weary but joyful. Now, why does this long romance seem...useless? Why am I so reluctant with submission? Am I afraid my work will turn to ashes because there is so MUCH of it? Why does fiction seem so easy, and a practical little query a visit to the inquisitor? I would appreciate the artists' view of this dark side.

Thank you, Terri... even more than my woods, I think Pasha is longing for me more , he's never been on house arrest this long since he's lived with 15 years! I owe him lots of walks and a few cans of tuna!

I love this. Thank you.

A Visit to the Inquisitor

Yes, he knows the questions,
but he does not know the answers.
His brain knocks, nudges, puzzles,
does not let him sleep at night.
Not knowing is a pebble in the shoe,
that never ceases to annoy
even when the sock is stripped away.
Whatever answers I give him
breathed out in a forced breath
are not enough. He does not trust them.
He is mad with the dark pathways
that I dance down so easily,
If he is cruel with me,
he is crueler with himself.
I forgive him in the end.
I know where I am going,
the answers in my pocket,
the fork ahead a treasure.
It is all about the road.

©2012 Jane Yolen All Rights Reserved

Oh Jane Yolen - I have tears in my eyes. What a beautiful answer. I went out on a limb
in my comment and yet, I am glad I wrote it. I was beginning to feel, yes, it is all about
the road. It is just another part of chasing beauty, and maybe catching something, maybe
missing a beat but not failing. And in the beginning, wasn't I scared of sending things
out, and shocked when they were accepted in small but lovely places? Thank you so
much. I feel blessed.

Thank you, Em.

I just realized the last acceptance I had was lovely but not small. If you editors read this
I am grateful for that acceptance and was referring to the ethereal literary small magazines
in the 1970's, when I was accepted to my surprise. What I'm doing now is another part
of my life. Always working, always surprised.

Jane, that is an utterly perfect answer to Phyllis' question!

As do I.

Beautiful. Powerful. True.

Thank you for your blog. I am much inspired particularly by your wonderfully dramatic photos which I send continuously to my artist daughter in San far away from the myths, moors and faerie bluebell woods! She recently sent me this link to some wonderful images which I thought you also might find to your hearts delight. Once again thank you for The Drawing Board and of course The Wood Wife. Best wishes, Carol B

Thank you so much for your kind words, Carol; and for the link to Nonus Severus, which is enchanting!

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