I would like to share something I believe wholeheartedly (sorry Stephen King for the adjective) with my fellow writers and writers-to-be.
I have astronomical news for you: IF THE MUSE CHOOSES YOU, IT MEANS YOU ARE WELL-EQUIPPED TO CARRY THE PROJECT FORTH.
I am convinced that the network of creativity that is the Muse doesn’t choose just anyone for a specific prospect of creation.
It only picks individuals that are capable of birthing what they are asked to create.
I was driving home this morning (I always get cool and luminous ideas when I drive in the country — who knows why) and I remembered that my heroine died in September of 1938 at the tender age of 78 so I thought to myself, “not only do I have to do research on the end of the 19th century but I also have to learn and imbue myself in the first three decades of the 20th century. I have to learn about the Belle Epoque and World War I. The scaffolding of the second world war will have to be part of my curriculum as well. This novel is going to take me at least a decade to study and write.”
And so be it. I know that her story didn’t come at me randomly. I imagine flashes of her life and when I google them, it corresponds with the geographical and historical customs.
That’s all I have to trust really. That if a project, an idea, a vision of a creative work that is yet to be materialized still dwells within our heart, it means that it has chosen us to do the work and what else do we need to trust that we were born to birth that?
My dear friends, I used to say all the time that I would NEVER EVER write fiction in my lifetime; I just didn’t see the point of it for me. The plot of my novel dropped into my mind out of nowhere land but I knew that evening that it was knocking on my heart, asking to be let in so that I could carry her story onto the pages that she couldn’t herself write.
I never went to school for writing and I have no formal training; never mind the mammoth prospect of writing a historically honest piece of fiction. I am NO Hilary Mantel! Far, far from that.
“But I call myself back to the nucleus of what matters the most: her story that was shoveled into the dark pipes of forgotten history.
I like to think that the creative ideas that we receive remain disowned parts of our shadow until we choose to let them pass through us by birthing them and THEN they become part of our light.
We all have creative conduits running through our own mind and the more we place our trust in the selection of the muse, the more those conduits become unblocked. I see these conduits almost as the underground passages that get constricted with basic life events, fear, false beliefs about creativity and about ourselves, disregard for the importance of creativity, and belligerent excuses. After all, even Steve Jobs said that “creativity is just connecting things.”
When I first received the idea that I should write a short e-book of prayers, I sat down in front of my laptop that very evening and I was asked 6 months later to write a longer version to be published by Hampton Roads Publishing.
I have learned to trust the arrival of ideas that present themselves with a quiet and confident force in my mind. After all, I never had a reason to think that this Frenchie could ever write in English, let alone well enough to ever become published.