Creative Spark

I’ve often wondered how the creative spark knows when to strike.  Is it really the Muses?  Do they sit back and watch us poor struggling writers and then go BAM (ala Emeril Lagasse style)?  I imagine they then switch to their best Oprah impression and declare everyone a winner of some new idea, whether it’s a fabulous one or not.  Whomever is responsible, I’d like to request inspiration wait to hit me until I’m out of the shower.  I do receive a lot of late night inspiration, so I’m going to assign those ideas to the Muses and assign my poor mal-functioning, un-caffeinated brain the responsibility of shower ideas.

Perhaps I’ve trained my brain to create in response to the sound of rushing water and like Pavlov’s dog response to a bell, water equals ideas.  I, of course, think all of the ideas are genius and curse at myself for not having thought of it sooner.  Some arrive fully fleshed out!  Characters show up and engage in witty conversation and I know it’s dialogue for some project I’m working on.  If my neighbors could hear me they’d certainly think I’m mental.  My family doesn’t count; they’ve already heard about many of these conversations and they’re stuck with me.

There’s only a small, tiny problem.  There’s no way to write it down fast enough.  My brain powerwalks to the next idea like I do when I see cake put out at a function.  Not only is my brain excited and devours a new idea, it aptly forgets what it was doing beforehand.  I come out of the shower sparkling clean from triple hair washes and frustrated from lost ideas.

I’ve rushed out to write something down before, but soggy paper and especially a soggy phone are not ideal.  I also have a cat whom I feel finds perverse joy in tripping or swiping at me to show her love of being adopted.  I remember another author once saying she had the same problem, so she took to writing on her mirror and shower walls with lipstick and an eyeliner pencil.  Her partner questioned some of the notes left behind when they described fight or murder scenes.  I’m pretty certain I’d run into the same thing.  Not to mention I hate cleaning and it would take daily elbow grease to clean it all up.  There’s a possibility it would look like a crazy person’s stay in a psych ward.

So, dear Muses or sleepy brain or the person supplying the creative spark, now that I’ve harassed you and complained about your visits.  Please don’t stop.  But, if I could have tiny wish, please just alter your visitation plans.  Or drop me some memory exercises so I can retain all the good ideas, not just the well cleaned hair.

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Finished!

I’m done.  I’m finished. I can’t quite believe it. After several years of writing, editing, re-writing and toiling over my first novel, it’s completed.  I know there will be room for more edits, I feel as though I find one every time I review it. But, I have to put the pen down or rather fingers off the keys and allow others to toil and fret over it while I nervously chew my fingernails and wait for feedback.  I figure I’ll take a moment to breathe before embarking on the next story path, so why not fill the time and start an author blog, because yes, that’s what I feel like I am officially now.

I’ve dreamt since I was a little girl of being a writer. No, of being more than just a writer, I’ve dreamt of being an author.  Perhaps for many there is no difference between the two, they’re synonymous, but not to me. A writer is someone I’ve always been; the creative spirit has needed a channel to flow forth from within and writing was an escape for that river.  I loved writing stories in elementary school and creating new worlds with talking animals.  In my angsty pre-teen and teenage years I found how cathartic journaling could be, and I had my first visits from characters who wanted to tell me their secrets.  I also fell in love with brooding, tortured, leading male characters, but that’s certainly a post for another time.

Towards the middle of high school, I found poetry. The non-rhyming, passionate and storytelling kind.  I was so shocked at the way it broke all rules and was so powerful in a modern way.  I became obsessed with conveying character points of view through pages and pages of poetry.  Most of it is in the bin, never to be recovered. And then in college, full blown characters would come and sit and distract me in the margins of my college ruled notebooks. They’d whisper a simple phrase or show me a certain look and my imagination stuck to it like glue, clearly not interested in urban planning or constitutional law.

I entered the corporate world, ready to tackle anything and do my best and to succeed like all of my friends in their careers.  Only, the characters in my brain kept multiplying and spinning new worlds.  They raised a ruckus and it started to get a little crowded.   So, I gave my most cherished characters life on paper.  And thus began the book.  I’d write a snippet here and a passage there, mostly after midnight when I had free writing time. I wrote when the mood stuck and when each character wanted to talk.  Their timetable was never convenient, nor were the muses very kind some days and months, gifting me with dry spells and writers block.  But the call of the author still urged me on.  I read other books and just knew I could do it too; I could join the coveted author ranking.  I was able to quit my job and in between focusing on domestic goddess status and wasting time on social media, I wrote a book.  And even if this is my only book, which I doubt, I can still say I’m now an author.  SH Burgess, Author. I’m not going to lie; it feels pretty damn good.