Autumn, the Muse, and Over-cooked Eggs

October 13, 2012 Candace Morris 1 Comments

There is nothing to ruin a perfectly cozy fall morning than over-poached eggs.  Did I eat them? You bet I did.  Breastfeeding makes me crazy.

Return To The Sky

Can you believe this gorgeous photo?
Dear Camera, it's been way too long.

I wish you could enjoy this moment with us.  Yo-Yo Ma plays Bach in the parlor, I sit cuddled in Joel's large sweater perusing beautiful photography on Flickr, the best wind makes the leaves dance and I ache to feel that brisk air on my face.  I think I'll go on a photo walk.  Joel is trying to finish his MA, so our house is emanating this quiet, academic study as he reads and works on a paper.  I have thoughts too.

Confession. I don't feel awesomely proud about almost anything I've written, including most of the poems I self-published last year.  In fact, you know how you read an old diary entry from grade 5 wherein you swear your undying affection for Craig, despite his liking Missy instead?  And you know how your gushing, maudlin writing makes you cringe with embarrassment?

That's how I feel about my past work as a writer - even about work completed quite recently.  As I walked  through this gorgeous suburban nook in the city a few days past, I realized that I think I have to agonize over work in order to feel good about it.  It might be a given that we feel that way about past work, just like how we feel that way about past hairstyles, but just in case I am wrong...I'd like to sit with these questions for a bit.

Is the best work of mine best because it is labored?  Does it require blood, sweat and tears to be good?  Is there room for  work that simply comes to you?  And if it is easy, does it mean it's not good?  Are you supposed to bully the easy work into submission as well, infusing it with angst in order to know it has substance?  Am I required to wait for my muse in order to write?  Can a poet be dry and logical or is she required to be a mystic?

Where some artists find a hard time working without their muse, I find it difficult to work with her.  She is just as illusive as most, but most of the time she does not have much of anything to say.  Instead, she creates a little nest in the artistic part of my soul and makes room for us both to sit there for an extended period of time.  She plans the poetry party and holds the door open for me to enter.  

But once I sit across from her, pen and paper in hand, ready to dictate her words, she falls silent.

I have a mute muse.

Others talk about certain memes or totem animals or recurring themes that seem to appear in their work almost entirely without their willing it so.  Their muse seems to take their hand and sketch and they wake from a reverie and realize that they are suddenly compelled to make a certain earring, painting, or picture.  All other projects that they work at with daily diligence take a back seat to this branding iron of ideas.  These artists will be the first to tell you that they work and work and work and hope the muse shows up, but are determined to just work and work.  Still, their muse seems to infuse their mind with ideas.

Mine just doesn't.  My mind doesn't lack words, and I've never stared at a blank paper wondering what to write.  But I cannot say I've ever cried on the floor of my "studio" for working hard at an idea.  I've never worked so hard that I bled.  I just write it and hope it's good (since we are often the worst judges of our work, I don't try to assess my own.  This is a hard practice, to send something out into the world without placing a stamp of approval on it, without trying to control how it will be received  but I feel there is little other way to ensure that I actually do SEND the work out.  Otherwise, I will be paralyzed with fear of quality).

I am no master at my craft, and I really want to be.  I want to take a poetry class, I want to labor over poems and make neat little scratch marks through words and place commas cleverly. Yes, I want to work hard - but I also wonder, is it okay if it just comes easy and angst-free?

Of course it is.

Is your Saturday bustling with chores and social plans?  Are you feeling restless for want of plans?  Are you out hiking or grocery shopping?  Are you snuggled in with cups of coffee and Downton Abbey?

May it bring you what it is supposed to bring you, this day.
And may you respond with awareness and gracious self-forgiveness.

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