Sunday, June 1, 2008
TRAVELING WITH THE MUSES
THAT'S ME IN THE RED BATHING SUIT - ON AN EARLIER TRIP TO WARM SPRINGS, GA
If you’re writing a book, the muses are a valuable resource. A necessity actually. In my case, they’re particularly skilled at offering ideas for new things to write. (More than I can ever follow up on -which is very annoying!)
But here’s what’s really bugging me – up until now the muses never came right out and said that they don’t love revisions.
Why now, do they decide to 'fess up? Just before a book is due to the copyeditor is no time for them to be chanting "Next book! Next book! Next book!"
So I was thinking I might take the muses (as many as I can corral into my 7 passenger van - apparently there are actually 9 of them) and hightail it off to Georgia. There in the genteel atmosphere of the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute, surely they would talk to me. And most especially if I treated them to fried green tomatoes at the Bulloch House Restaurant! And to Brunswick Stew at Mac's BBQ. Surely, if we browsed through vintage photos in the Warm Springs archive and wandered over the grounds where my story takes place, surely inspiration would follow!
But things have come up. As it turns out, a trip to GA does not fit easily into my schedule. So I am no longer promising the muses a working vacation.
Just begging them really, to out with the good stuff!
I thought I heard one of them saying it was really not about a trip to Warm Springs anyway. That it’s really about BIC (Behind in Chair!) So I tried that. But quite frankly, for a kinesthetic learner this is a death sentence to inspiration. So finally after doing that grind for days, I put on my mowing shoes and went into the yard. I filled my dear sweet lawnmower’s gas tank, cranked it up, and followed it wherever the muses led.
I got a lot of mowing done. The yard looks stunning. The cut grass smells downright intoxicating. And apparently the muses loved going round and round as much as I did. Because the next time I put BIC the story started to flow.
I am not saying that all plot problems have been solved. Or that a trip to Warm Springs is out of the question. I really, really, really want to go because I LUV THAT PLACE!
But putting gas in the 7 passenger van is a whole other investment than filling a little red machine that stays right here in my yard. And a trip to Georgia is much more time consuming than a few thousand turns around our acreage.
So, for now, I’m thinking about picking up Brunswick Stew here in town, frying up my own green tomatoes, rereading all my interview notes, and maybe even calling on my experts one more time!
Surely the muses can do revisions without going out of state. After all, aren’t they the ones who’ve been humming in my ear - nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina…
If you want to know more about that, read my BLUE sequel. Assuming of course, that I actually finish the revisions!