But, some of you are asking, why go through all this trouble? It’s just a snack, after all, right?
Oh contraire, gentle readers. Muse food really serves three functions.
First, you are now armed with one of the writer’s secret weapons. A moment of decadent joy. This pampering can be a great pick me up when you’re deep in the work and need a treat (or bribe, depending) to keep yourself going. (For instance – if I write three more sentences, I can have six Cheetos. Or, to celebrate the end of this blog entry, I’m going to have a bowl of Cheetos.)
Second, if you reserve this special feast for times when you want to lure in creativity, your mind will begin to associate these foods, and the vessels you’ve chosen to serve them, with your writing. This allows you easier access to that coveted writing head space that is sometimes so hard to achieve, setting the stage in your mind that it’s now time to get some serious creating done.
Finally, there really is something to creating a treat for the Muse. Mythical creatures require magical care, and setting aside something for them, even if only symbolically, can help you connect to your Muse in a way that transcends the mundane world we live in, allowing you to channel the mystical stuff that makes writing creatively possible.
You awaken at dawn with a start. The sound of chanting fills the air as your native porters go about the business of starting breakfast. The eastern sky is salmon-hued, as the first sliver of a golden sun edges above the horizon.
You pull yourself to your feet with a groan, stumbling a bit, muscles and joints complaining after a night spent curled on the cold, hard ground. A few bug bites itch intensely (something about scorpions? Do they live in the savannah?)
Suddenly you remember the reason why you subjected yourself to such a night, and you look toward the Muse trap – then stare in amazement.
Something thrashes violently in the trap!
Scarcely daring to breathe, you creep closer, to peer between the slats of the trap. A pale, glowing eye gazes back at you.
It is a gaze like no other. You are mesmerized, enchanted. And even as you feel this, the creature in the trap ceases it’s thrashing, apparently entranced as well.
You are filled with the most ebullient sensations and you realize you have the energy to write a hundred – no, a thousand books. Plot problems dissolve like the morning mist, characters are infused with pulsing life and you itch to get to work on your latest project.
Elated, you reach for the latch of the cage, wanting to embrace your little Muse, to thank it.
But the moment the door of the trap is opened, the Muse bolts, disappearing into the brush so fast you could not even describe what it looked like.
For a moment you are crushed. So close, and yet…
But there will be another day. You’ve caught it once, you can catch it again. And you realize, with wonder, that the creative surge the Muse fueled in you still remains, despite the creature’s escape.
Next time, you vow, you’ll not make the same mistake. But for now, you head into your tent and pull out your portable field typewriter. There are words to be written – and there is no time like the present!
Likewise, once you bait the trap with Muse food, and partake of your feast, it’s time to get to work yourself. Go. Create. Carpe diem!
Copyright 2011 by Nan Sampson All rights reserved.