Ads 468x60px

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Conditioning the Muse and Drooling Dogs

Muses come in many shapes and colours. Being an artist includes the ability to recognize a good Muse from a bad one. A Muse is almost never bad from the start, but it can grow weaker in time. On some days, the Muse sprinkles the magic fairy dust that makes you fly right into your brain cells (different Muses like different routes of administration), and if he or she are not properly trained, they will take leaves and go missing for long periods of time, sometimes without notice.

Basically, Muses can be flaky.

But see, I’ve found a way around that. One day I got tired of putting my livelihood and dreams in the hands of imaginary flakes and decided to create a Muse specifically for desperate and inspiration-less times. How did I do that, you ask?

I conditioned my Muse.

Mwuhaha. That’s right, I am Dr. Frankenstein and my monster is on a leash!

Instead of waiting for her to appear, I go to a special place where I know I’d find her. I call her the Wise River Lady, Nereth for short. You can guess from her full title that she lives in the river. When I need her, she emerges. Almost always.

She has long and wavy ginger hair and green eyes. Apart from conditioning her to stay in her designated place (the river can be real or imaginary), I’ve also added a twist.

Nereth is a shape-shifter.

Depending on my immediate need, she appears at different ages. Once I asked a stupid question about a boy. She practically mocked me by emerging as a naive little girl.

Baby Nereth is the epitome of cute! (lindseybelle)

And if I ever ask her some question that requires worldly wisdom, I am sure she’d age a century. (I’m still working on it, though.)

Maybe lose the spindle. (dpshots)

So apparently, she was a need that needed filling.  (Ignore the mindless repetition.) Unlike my other Musely flakes, she’s bound to a place and as flexible as a rubber band. There’s just one tiny glitch… she speaks in riddles. Which is what I call nonsense statements… I think they’re called koans in Zen Buddhism? Anyway, beyond the nonsense, one can find an underlying layer of metaphor.

Like cake. Once I get through the initial chocolate frustration, I can enjoy my creamy metaphor, and if it’s over-creamed, I might end up walking away with chocolate smudged all over my face. Or regress back to jam-hands. #shithappens

In any case, conditioning may take many forms. You can condition your Muse to appear at specific times and places. Which is the same as forming a writing habit really. You don't have to refer to mythical creatures to figure that out.

So that was a long way of introducing my artificial Muse to you. She’s still a little bit like those ‘intelligent’ bots who can’t get the concept of joking, but I’m working on it. After all, conditioning is pretty meddlesome. I’m sure when Pavlov conditioned those dogs to drool when they heard a bell found himself slobbered over when the fire-alarms sounded. Every trick has its kinks.

And if you haven’t yet met my friends’ Muses, you can check out the Meet the Muse Collaboration Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. It’s quite the collection: everything from funny to disturbing. This post is just my tiny contribution.

Speaking of collaborations, please see the new page called Cheeky Collaborations. Currently, I am looking for NaNoWriMo snippets (I’m excited already!) and memorable Christmas stories (UK-based). And you get to win a pretty badge!

And finally, this Friday brings the first-EVA Milestone Party for the Life List Club. There will be confetti and giveaways and eggnog (Christmas is right round the corner!). My giveaway is modest but hopefully useful to one of you guys: an in-depth critique of two WIP chapters. Fair warning: I go as deep as one can go.

In addition, you’ll see how far I’ve gotten on my list of goals. Suddenly I wish my list was full of charmingly easy goals like… eating two sandwiches at once or balancing a beer bottle on my nose. I suppose I can always add those…

Now the night’s just gotten interesting! Wish me luck.

I am super-chicken! Watch me flap.