Monday, January 25, 2010
In the movie Stranger Than Fiction, Emma Thompson plays an author struggling with how to write the end of her novel. She does several unique things to try to figure out the ending, including sitting outside in the rain. When her assistant tells her that sitting in the rain doesn't write books, she replies, "Well, that shows you just how much you know about writing books." When she finally figures out the ending, she tells her assistant, "Like anything worth writing, it came inexplicably and without method."
Answers like that call to mind, for me, strange people huddled in cafes with cigarettes and alcohol talking about their 'genius' and their 'muse.' People I called 'artistes' and thought of as divas who needed careful handling, because they couldn't just put their butts in chairs and get something accomplished.
I do not believe I have a Muse. I do not believe there is some person or thing who causes my ideas and whose absence will cause my mind to dry up like a well. Ideas tumble off shelves in my brain, but I don't know if there's anything I could do to induce them to fall other than kick a lot of stuff around in an effort to help mental gravity out a bit. If one thing's for certain, pouring libations and sacrificing goats does not help my creative process.
However, I cannot deny that sometimes the whole story idea, the key aspects of the tale, or the brilliant thing that I love came to be in some sort of flash. Often there's a glimmer of a hint of a thread, and I'll follow that to the end of the thought process. But, sometimes, things walk up and announce themselves. Inexplicably and without method.
Do you have a 'muse'? How do you get those illusive muses to sing/dance/produce ideas from thin air? If you don't have a muse, what do you do to get the creativity to work when it doesn't want to?