A letter to my Muse for the Writer's Cramp Contest 4/11/13
|(Word Count: 862)
April 10, 2013
We have been having such a great time together ever since November (We did it! Our first Nano!), but I feel compelled to stop a few minutes to say what is on my mind and in my heart.
First, I love that you have been coming to see me so much recently. November was so much fun! That smile on my face in the picture of me in my winner’s t-shirt says it all. You know how much I hate pictures, and I posted that on Facebook. That smile was because of you.
Second, I need to address the elephant in the room. We have a lot of work to do for me to reach the goals I have set for myself. Until I get this out, I’m afraid I won’t be able to concentrate. So, just hear me out, please.
We had a rocky relationship there for quite a while. You stayed away for a long time, and I missed you. But, I didn't stop there. I got angry and blamed you for everything I had not done. Years went by and I started very little and finished even less. And it was not just my writing that suffered. My family life, my school life, my work life – each withered and fell away from me like a plant without water and sun for too long.
I believed you had abandoned me. I hated you. I convinced myself you were flighty, cruel and uncaring. Jealousy burned my insides when I saw you with someone else. Rather than call out to you, I hid myself even further away. I cried. I screamed. I called you names. I had tantrums. Then, I gave up and tried to forget about you.
I surveyed the damage around me and tried to build something new. First, I used the ashes and tears (of which I had plenty!) and mixed up a thick paste to hold the broken bits and pieces back together. I got a foundation built and stayed there for a while. I didn't have much more than a flimsy chair, a tattered blanket and a broken child’s umbrella to keep away the rain, but I stayed put. I began to bask in the warm glow of the sun and look forward to the cool, dark nights. I got stronger. I healed. I grew. It didn't take long before I was able to start work on re-building my life.
Today, I have a beautiful little place of my own. It’s small, but it suits me. Rather than long for the grand mansion, I found contentment in my cottage. I earned it. And it was while here that I first saw you again. You came to me smiling and we hugged like old friends do when they see each other after a long time apart.
We got to work. We cranked out a novel. I took a break and you told me not to worry, because growth is hard work and we all need a little time to adjust and rest before forging on. “No one climbs a mountain without resting along the way,” you said.
I was taking this break, feeling good about what I had done when I discovered a truth I had missed before – you never left. Through my anger and anguish, you were there. Through the despair and devastation, you were there. It was you who inspired me to rebuild. You stayed just out of my sight, but you were there all along. I looked around, and saw your touch, your influence, in everything I had done and realized I owe you an apology.
I must tell you how sorry I am. I forgot we are partners, and I wasn't doing my share of the work. I got lazy. Inspiration wasn't enough; I wanted you to do all the work. When we first met, things came so easily. I got tired of the effort when things got tougher and I expected you to work harder. When the words just wouldn't come, I blamed you. I think I believed that it came from you, and I was just channeling your words through me.
I was so wrong. Please forgive my arrogance and ignorance. Edison was right when he said, “Success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.” I wasn't putting in the work and soon you just could not trust me to get the job done. You kept inspiring me, even when I was certain you had abandoned me for others entirely. The notebooks and scraps of paper scattered through drawers and boxes of my past speak to the fact that you were still giving me ideas. I wasn't following through.
I understand now. I have my ice-cold drink and my sleeves are up. I am ready to get my hands dirty and put in the hard work. I know I don’t have to tell you that I may be slow at times. I still get scared and tired. You have been patient with me, all along. I know you will stay by my side through it all.
Thanks for everything, Muse. Now let’s get back to work!