Saturday, February 17, 2018

Calliope Tells All

Anne's muse, Calliope, is very opinionated and isn't shy about sharing.

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What's a muse to do?

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Why do writers avoid writing? Let's take my writer, Anne Manning, as an example.

For awhile, she was doing okay, a book every year or so. That's not bad for a part-time writer. She was still working a regular job, but we were anticipating her approaching retirement. Imagine all the writing she could do when she didn't have to go out to work.

Well, it didn't exactly turn out that way. About the time she retired, she got into maintaining websites. On the one hand, I was happy for her that she had discovered a pursuit that offered so much. She was challenged to learn things she'd never had to deal with: content management systems vs. static pages, html, php, css style sheets, templates, all that stuff. Personally, I find it very boring, but Anne loves to troll through forums to find the answer to an esoteric question and she's so proud when she fixes something or makes the website look exactly as she envisioned it. Now she's a fairly competent webmistress. She has the whip to prove it!

With all that free time she had after she retired, why didn't she devote at least a couple of hours a day to writing the books that we have in us? It's so frustrating. These stories are right there and they languish.

So, why do writers avoid writing? I have a theory to share. It's so much easier to write that first, hear me out. Most writers, I know this was the case with Anne because I worked on her for years, have a story or two that rattle around in their brains. They think about it. They hone it before putting the first word on paper. They may not have the technical skills when writing that first book, but by the time they get to writing it, it just flows. Of course, they may thank their muses for that. But, it was easier because they had been thinking it out forever and they were not hampered by the rules because they didn't know there were any. In short, they puked out the story and then set about editing and re-writing. That's the way it's supposed to be done.

Now, when a writer gets those first stories out, they have to really start working. They have to read, observe, think, ask what if... and create the characters and world that tell the story. In Anne's case, it's easier to update a website, add a new dohickey to make it do something nifty, read and answer get the picture.

So, my sister muses, what's a muse to do?

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Calliope is the muse of epic poetry and once worked with the poet Homer. No, not Simpson. The Greek guy.
Renowned as the wisest of the muses--and the most assertive--Calliope is often seen with an iPad, though she sometimes uses papyrus.


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