The Muse’s New Language

I’ve been quiet since the new year has rolled around. We’re in 2015 now (surprise!) and we’re without hoverboards, flying cars, the Cubs winning the World Series (sorry Cubbies), and nuclear generators that fuel our vehicles. But Nike is giving us the power laces!

Still, all that said, it’s been a quiet few months from my end, writing wise. Oh, sure, I’ve poured out my heart (and soul and blood and tears ect) into a few blog posts here and on another site. But as far as fiction writing goes, I have been dead creatively.

I’ve been dead since I got a taste of … life. That one week in November with that one girl from work was astounding on a lot of fronts, but it drove home how woefully inadequate my writing was in describing those types of romantic encounters. I mean, really, my writing skills just didn’t do it even remote justice.

With that first-hand experience now mine (as opposed to something someone relayed to me) I’ve been finding it difficult to write; I’ve been questioning everything that came before, naturally, but I’ve been finding it harder to think about what to write next.

Honestly, I’m more interested in trying to live my life instead of writing about one, and it’s the first time I can claim that. Living my life isn’t a favorite pastime of mine — I’d almost rather be writing about something else. But I had a girl like me enough to put up with me, hold my hand, and kiss me (repeatedly!) for just a week, but what a week.

And that week confirmed many things people had told me since I went from fat guy to not-fat guy; basically boiling down to “You’re not unlovable” and “you just need to put yourself out there.” Well, once more, it seems that people were right — again. I want to quote stats and odds, but I can’t in this. It happened and it was great and people were right.

I was me. I was myself and I got a taste of something great.

And I’m having difficulty translating that real-life experience into something to put on a page, at least in terms of fiction anyway. The Muse and I aren’t at odds so much as the Muse is speaking a new language. Probably a language everyone else, more experienced than I in life, has already mastered.

But I haven’t mastered it. I can make out a few words and phrases here and there, but I’m distracted by the newness, one, and the strangeness, two. They are separate things for me — it’s a new language and so I’m trying to figure out how things sound in it, but I’m drawing comparisons to the old language to do it. It’s a slow process.

And it’s strange because I never thought I’d really get to this point. It’s all well and good to talk and hope, but talk and hope matter little in real life: it’s actions that speak. This is a stark reality I have come across in recent years; people don’t seem to truly believe another person’s words unless they’re backed by actions.

Which brings me to my problem with the Muse’s new language: as far as “actions” go, I only performed a precious few in that week. How exactly am I supposed to write about the other types of actions one performs in the midst of romantic encounters? Making-out, sex, weddings, getaways … all of it is beyond my experience level.

This wasn’t a problem before because all of it was beyond my experience level, but that’s not true now: kissing, hand holding, arm looping, swaying to the wind — that’s mine now. Those are my experiences.

I commonly wrote above my experience level before but everything before seemed out of reach, or, at the very least, further down the road. That’s not so true here.

So, the Muse is speaking a new language and I’m having trouble deciphering it. This, very clearly, represents a divide in my writing, where real-life experiences influence the fictional lives I write. I’m going to have to practice writing with this new language, but it’s going to be a process.

I’m already beginning to work myself back into things with the wonderfully timely Weekly Free Write for this week, “Turning Points.” There’s a story there that ties directly into this, but we’ll get to that soon.

As always, any and all comments are welcome. Thanks for reading.


3 thoughts on “The Muse’s New Language

  1. One thing you can do (which I do; your mileage may vary) is to kind of save up your experiences and the quotes that come from them – whatever they are. And they need not necessarily be in a romantic vein. I think that kind of observation is helpful for all muse-y type activities.

    When someone said, “They’ve got an agenda.” to me, I stuck it in the back of my mind. Never mind the context; I’m using it for something else.

    As for your romance scenes (of whatever level), use three senses or more. There is more out there than seeing and hearing. Actually, I think that works for all scenes where you want to linger.

  2. I have to say that living your life is going to be the big factor in writing about life. I remember that fictional conversation in “Time’s Arrow” between Samuel Clemens and Jack London:

    JACK: You know, Mister Clemens, I’m going to do you another favor today. You’re always looking for good stories, right? Well, I’ve got a real humdinger for you. The story of my life. Now, I know you may think I’m young, but I’ve covered a lot of ground and if I do say so myself, it’d make for some pretty fascinating reading. So, what do you think?
    CLEMENS: About what?
    JACK: About writing my life story. You and me. Literary partners, of course.
    CLEMENS: Young man, I have a maxim that I have always lived by. No one is more qualified to write your story than you are.
    JACK: Me? Be a writer? You think I could do that?
    CLEMENS: As long as you write what you know. You got any passions, boy? Any dreams?
    JACK: I’d like to do some traveling, maybe go to sea. And Alaska. I’ve had the strangest notion to go see Alaska.
    CLEMENS: That’s a great idea, son. That’s exactly what I would do if I were your age. Alaska, the Klondike, the Aurora Borealis. That’s it. Follow your dreams and write about ’em.
    JACK: Thank you, Mister Clemens. You know, that is exactly what I’m going to do.
    CLEMENS: You do that, son.
    JACK: You’ll see my name in print, too.
    CLEMENS: I’m sure I will.
    JACK: Don’t forget. The name’s London. Jack London.
    CLEMENS: Goodbye now. Bye-bye.

    It was a funny exchange, but if you think about it… there’s a lot of wisdom in that brief conversation between two writers at different stages of their life experiences. Clemens lived quite a bit and London was about to embark on his own adventure.

    We write what we know. I’ve lived through a lot of emotional states in my life and I try my best to pour those memories and experiences into my characters. So, I think the new language your Muse is using will be understood with enough time as you continue to ride this rock around the Sun. You will hone your craft accordingly and you will find the quality of what you’re producing will increase no matter what.

    Don’t worry about trying to write. If it doesn’t come, then it’s not ready. Wait until you’re flush with that creative font again and then let ‘er rip. We’ll be here waiting. 🙂


  3. I’m sure you learn your muse new language given time till then remember you’re not alone, the Ad Astra gang are around to listen.
    Try MDg advice, have your advantage/life and I am sure that you will find that the old saying your best story is always your next one because you’ve got more experience to draw on.
    Safe Trekking till you find your answers. 🙂

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