At The Whim of the Muses

Some writer friends and I were talking about what drives us to write. We agreed that for whatever reason, we cannot not write, but the motivations were varied. For one writer, there are definite stories she wants to tell. Crafting the storyline, inter-weaving the plots is ultimately satisfying for her. For another, he wishes to create an income doing something he loves—something he’s proud of. He searches for stories that have not been told, many times the behind the scene stories of a headline news article.

We agreed that there were probably as many reasons to write, as writers. “And you?” they ask me.

It seems that I am at the whim of the muses. I write stories out of the universal consciousness as the characters call to me. For one of my novellas, I was shown a mental picture of a small boy standing in front of a mirror, drizzling strands of Christmas tinsel over his head to make him a beautiful woman. He needed me to help him through a sex change later in his life. Before that, the word reincarnation wrapped itself around my brain and wouldn’t let go until I finished a book about an unrequited lesbian love affair in the1700s, England. In a short story, a woman with multiple personalities needed a hand it getting out of an abusive relationship, and begged me to write her an escape route. In a collection of short stories, the theme of returning home kept emerging. In one of those, a young girl from the bayou hitchhiked across country to “find herself” in San Francisco so she could return home to take over the business she was to inherit. Without that quest, she would have lived a quietly miserable life, trapped in a go-nowhere existence. In another, a young Miwok girl beckoned me with mental picture of herself and her younger brother picking blueberries in a field. The girl is stolen and raised in another tribe, and fights for her life to return to her people. It amazed me how many versions of returning home there actually were when I began listening to the characters.

There appears to be no rhyme or reason to what I write—I just show up when I’m called.