Puking up storyballs
I know some people say the muse is a load of nonsense and what you really need to do is get your backside in the chair and just write, get someone to hold a gun against your head if that helps. But I am starting to believe in the muse. To me she or he is not some sylph-like grecian beauty dancing around in diaphanous gowns, whispering plotlines to me in my sleep, it’s a cat*.
(please forgive the following extended, gratuitous metaphor)
When you want it is never there, it’s off with someone else giving them all the attention that you crave, growing fat on someone else’s better quality cat food. Or it’s sleeping in the back of the greenhouse for 15 hours at a stretch. You stand in the garden screaming for it, banging tins with spoons, rattling boxes of biscuits and still it ignores you. So you put the food out, go to bed and give up.
Next day the stuff is still in the dish, untouched. The cat might yawn and stretch, come in and nibble at it, but it will largely ignore you. Then when you have given up, gone to watch the telly, or do the washing up, go on the computer, go to bed . . . it’s there. In your face, pawing at you with insistent claws, in the bathroom staring at you while you shower and there is nothing you can do about it.
You’ll have spent an entire day cleaning, because you have visitors on the way then the muse-cat comes in and pukes up on the carpet. But in that puke is the stuff you have been longing for. The story, right when you least expect it, when you least WANT it. So you get down on your knees, give thanks for this irritating beast that brightens your life in the strangest ways and you try to catch its brief moments of attention.
* We no longer have one as the kids are allergic, but I have much experience of these awkward creatures.