Sunday, September 16, 2007

Oh where, Oh where has my muse gone?

I think my Muse has run away from home. Back to Greece she’s gone to frolic in Pantheon, leaving me stranded. As writers they are an important part of our writing process. The frontal lobe stimulation brought on by sight, smell, and hearing things that trigger a memory, or in the writer’s case, a desire to write.
I’ve experienced none of this of late.
So I tried music. All kinds from rock to Gregorian chants. Nothing, she’s not there. No one is home. The lights are definitely off, leaving me alone in the dark.
So I tried reading. That helps. But more with sentence structure then anything. A little nudge there, but not enough to get me going.
I’ve watched a few movies. No take that back, a lot of movies. The most recent, 3:10 to Yuma. It was very good. Russell Crowe looked wonderful as usual. A flicker maybe. For a split second I thought my muse was hiding behind a tree. Nope it wasn’t her.
Writers have all kinds of muses, and ways to bring her out of hiding. Mine has really run far away, to disappear into the distance. Because I haven’t been able force her back. So instead, the large wide screen screams back at me, empty.
Well, this is how it’s been for me for a few weeks, as I curse my muse for her long unscheduled vacation.
Until, this weekend.
I made a trip home to Northern California, to the dry hot golden hills, to visit my family. As usual, we had our gathering at my sister’s ranch. After much food, horseback riding through her property, and more food, I settled into a comfortable lounge chair on her front lawn, under a hundred year old oak.
For long moments, I studied the twisted branches, where a squirrel played, and chattered as it gathered nuts for the coming winter. In the distance, a hawk cried, and nearby a chicken picked at the soft earth, with its chicks in tow.
It wasn’t long and I started to drift off to the dream world. During that time, my mind considered my writing, my story, and future stories. It was at peace, and was able to push aside the clutter of my life to allow my muse to return home. I felt her there, ready to write.
Welcome home from Greece. You were missed.
A soft breeze pulled at my hair, and I felt the velvety nose of Monty , my nephew’s horse, nuzzle my hair, as she reached over the fence to smell me. Reaching up I touched her face, and listened to her throaty grumble in my hair, and the idea for a future story sprung alive.
We each have our own little ways to get the juices flowing, and bring the muse into our writing world, so she can work her wonders. I hadn’t considered going home to a life I use to live to bring mine out. During her next vacation I might just try that again…It worked wonders, and yes of course Monty helped.
So what’s your tricks? What do you do the call your muse home to roost?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Fall into Shape

Often we set new goals at the beginning of each year. I find that by April those goals are long forgotten. So I have decided to set goals with the season. This will be the first season that I start this process. I have been on quarterly goals at work for the last year or so and I find those much easier to accomplish then long term goals that may shift over the year.

So since we are starting to hit the time of year when food will be plenty, I have decided that I better start thinking about the shape I am in for my body but also the shape my mind and soul are in as well.

My goal for the next 4 months is to focus on being healthy. This means exercise and making healthy choices. It means making time for me and doing things that make me happy. So I will write a minimum of an hour day on my current work in progress. It also means to learn to deal with the stress I am faced with everyday on the job and not let it rule my choices with food and how I live my life. I thought I would try yoga, to see if it could help add to the exercise side of things along with the stress relief.

So are there goals that you made at the beginning of the year you have accomplished? Are you going to renew your goals that became long forgotten and set some new ones for the fall? What is your goal process?

Lyn Emerson
Black Diamonds Vice President

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Slow and Steady

Almost everyone knows the story of the Tortoise and the Hare. The moral of the fable is that slow and steady wins the race.

This month we added a new member to our chapter. Looking back I realized the Diamonds have grown slow, but steady as well. We may never be a large chapter, but we are a tightknit group. Someone is always ready with an answer to a question or help to a problem. That is much more important than a large group.

Slow and steady wins the publishing race as well. You can dash off a story, but will it be any good, or you can build up slowly, write more and more each day, and develop the writing skills you will need in the long run.

Don't get me wrong, sometimes a deadline must be met and the story MUST be done, but for the long haul of having a career, you need to build up those skills of writing every day, honing your skills of writing better, and know that slow and steady wins the race in the end.

Jill James, president, Black Diamond Chapter