Friday, May 22, 2015

I've got good muse and bad muse...

The theme for this month's Absolute Write blog chain is Who is your Muse? Unfortunately, there seems to be a lack of muses since no one else signed up for the chain. I guess that makes it simply a single link, or circle. But it's a good excuse to talk a bit about where I get my inspiration.

I actually spoke a little about this recently, discussing inspiration from dreams. But muse is a little broader concept, it's the source of knowledge, the container of the story who not only inspires an artist to create but fills their well with the ink. In that light, my muse, everyone's muse, is really the life you've chosen to live.

As a writer, my stories come from my experiences, which often include the many stories I've read, heard, or seen. All those books and movies get jumbled up in my head, then filtered through my own thoughts and actions, and come out in a form that's somewhat universal but still wholly original.

While some might say the inspiration comes from the outside, I think it's the other way around. The inspiration, the urge to create a story and populate it with people you wish existed, comes from within. It's a basic human need to want to control our world.

What comes from the outside are the pieces - the tropes and symbols that we use to build our make-believe world in a way that others can relate to. These legos of life-bits come in all shapes and sizes, and quite often we get excited when we find exactly what we need, or a strange and unique piece sets our mind on a new path towards discovery. But the inspiration? The desire to play in the first place? That's an essential part of our character.

I don't think it's arrogant to say that I'm my own muse. I write for myself first. I've been making up stories since before I can remember. I find plenty of beauty and strangeness and darkness in the world to build with, but I'm inspired to write by the joy it gives me.

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