Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Inspiration Keeps Its Own Schedule

Last night, at about 11:35, I was lying in bed reading the critical commentary about Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man Is Hard To Find" in Perrine's Story And Structure (5th ed.)* when I realized two important things that I need to do when I get around to revising "Cocke & Bull" later this year. I leapt from bed, threw on my robe and scuttled down the hall to the Designated Writing Room where I dug out the printed ms for "Cocke & Bull" and made a bunch of hasty notes--possibly they are all illegible; I have not checked--on the title page. There's a chapter in the middle that seems out of place and I realized that I could set it up by foreshadowing in Act One with similar scenes and suddenly I knew why the chapter was part of the book (I'd been hazy about that for months; I just knew it fit somehow, that's all). I also realized that there is not enough humor in the book, especially not enough centered around the protagonist, so I'm going to fix that as well.

Notes scribbled, I went back to the bedroom, finished reading the commentary about the O'Connor story, and went to bed. That's all.

Anyway, my muse apparently phones me from several time zones away these days. WTF, muse? But at least the muse still has my number, so I won't complain much.

* don't even start with me about my choice of relaxing reading material at bedtime

Additional trivia: Still in Chapter Six, wordcount = 20,494!


  1. Your muse must have a time share with my muse. Can't tell you how many times I've had a moment of brilliance while stuck in traffic, in the shower, or as I drifted off to sleep (in which case I did what you did, got up and jotted something illegible down).

  2. I need to read some critical commentary. I haven't done much of that since college, and I miss it. Reading that kind of work can really get your mind flowing, and I'm happy you found the reason for your chapter!

  3. I'm with Rick - my muse normally appears at the least opportune times, and normally while I'm driving. She's also been known to appear around 3AM. Yes, my muse is definitely female and definitely doesn't know how to tell time.

  4. Rick: Yeah, what's up with that? Why the shower? Or when I'm out running? Is this funny to the muses? Ha-ha, little muse. Knock it off already.

    Michelle: Reading about writing always inspires me because it makes me think about my own stories in different ways, pulls me out of whatever imaginative rut I'm in. Well, sometimes it does. Sometime this summer I'm going to re-read the collected letters of Ms. O'Connor.

    Scott: See above comments to Rick. My muse is genderless and heartless but not humorless, and that's all I require. One thing I won't do is get up in the middle of the night and write down an idea. Unless it's, like, a really really damned good idea.