Have you sold your soul lately?

I sold my soul a while back. It helps that I don’t think it’s eternal, and I got a fair deal for it.

I sold it to the Word Gods. They were supposed to trade me unlimited time with The Muse in exchange. Except, of course, it didn’t work out quite the way I thought it would. Selling your soul rarely does.

I thought unlimited time meant that when I called, The Muse would appear. But no, she’s a busy lady and apparently lots of folk have sold their souls in order to get a piece of her. So, really the way it works is, I call and then… Nothing.

Until 2am, or until I’m making dinner, feeding pets, listening to my children tell me about their day, helping my husband pay bills and trying to schedule appointments on the phone all at the same time. Then, suddenly, there she is, The Muse, tapping her foot impatiently because she doesn’t have all day.

And if I don’t stop EVERYTHING, right that moment, for her – she’s gone and all her wordly (yes, you read that right – word – ly ) inspiration is gone with her.

I’ve taken the advice of writers, artists and creative types the world over and I am never more than arms reach from paper and pen so that I can catch the bits of magic fairy dust that fall of Her when she leaves, and try to spin them into something solid in those rare moments when I’m not driving, not bathing children, not making a meal, not on someone else’s clock, not catching up, winding down, or otherwise spinning my wheels.

I have tried scheduling reliable time, setting appointments with The Muse, so to speak. That bitch is always late, if she comes at all. I’ve tried ambushing her – filling my day full to bursting and then cancelling everything right in the thick of it, hoping she’ll be tricked into coming, thinking it’s an inconvenient time for me. But she’s crafty. She knows.

I see her, sometimes, out of the corner of my eye, watching me, waiting to make her appearance. I beckon, and she turns away. I ignore her, hoping she’ll be starved for my attention and come begging, like a cat. Sometimes she does. But only sometimes. And, just like a cat, as soon as she gets what she came for, she disappears, faster than you can pin her down.

She keeps me up at night, tossing and turning in my bed. But when I give in to her demands and go to my desk, or pull out my notebook, she is gone – on to her next victim.

This is what happens when you sell your soul. You think you are doing the right thing, you think that you’ll be getting something for it – words, inspiration, health, happiness, money, something – anything. But mostly what you get is torment and suffering. Anguish, absolute anguish.

And I even sold my soul to pretty nice Gods, as gods go anyway. The word gods are much nicer than the corporate Gods who buy your soul for the promise of life draining stability and health insurance that doesn’t cover illness, injury, or their prevention. Those Gods are really evil.

Still, it’s days like this where I wake up already drained, already in need of a little boost, and I reach out in every way I know to The Muse, only to realize she’s on sabbatical, again, that I begin to despair. I wonder, should I ask for my soul back? Or is this torment part of the inspiration? Can I weave this angst into literary gold?

And then I go back to my computer and I open up my book, and I start to write. And even though the words come hard and choppy, I keep writing. And I keep writing, and I push away the whispers and doubts, the demons telling me that I’m writing total crap and I’m going to have to revise, no, I’m going to have to just scrap all of it, every word of the last thousand, the last two thousand words, but I don’t, I keep writing, and I keep writing, and then I see Her, The Muse, out of the corner of my eye.

And she is smiling.

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Have you sold your soul lately?

  1. Let’s see… I bought a pen with a light at the tip – for those precious night ideas, sticky notes for the inspirations in books I read, and I gave up a career in clinical psychology to write instead. Occassionally my husband – the engineer who is very supportive – reminds me that I would have been earning more than me by now. Just sayin’ …. May the Muse play fair with all of us. Sharon Stone keeps coming to mind when I picture the Muse…and she was a real bitch to deal with. Remember? Karen Lin

    • thinkbannedthoughts

      Ha! So with you Karen. I’ve tried every trick in the book to lure Her in. But she likes her games, and she thrives on our struggles.
      And yes – I can definitely see The Muse as played by Sharon Stone. That’s actually a pretty perfect image.
      Wishing you the best in your writing ventures. May the Muse play fair indeed.

  2. Ha I said I’d have been earning more than me (I meant he) but wow…Freudian slip! Karen

  3. And to think I gave my up writing for well-paying day job!

    You know, I NEVER had writing issues before. Never. For some 30 years. I literally used to complete one full-blown ms and within seconds start another. I feel for you all, and maybe that’s my takeaway in all this frigging angst. I used to say (and somewhat arroogantly, so, I might add) that all one had to do was sit their butt down and put their fingers to keyboard. I’m finding–in my OWN way–that ain’t always as easy as it sounds. There’s an “energy” to all this, and if one’s energy is otherwise engaged, well, it just don’t happen. All I can say is follow the “fall line” of your life. If it ain’t happenin, do something else. My fiction ain’t comin, so I find myself blogging and making blanket apologies across cyberspace! :-] You know, as i’ve posted before, there’s nothing wrong with NOT being a writer. Maybe the inner energy has changed…and change is a tough morsel to swallow. I’m not saying any of us should move on to other pursuits, I’m just running off at the mouth….

    • thinkbannedthoughts

      I used to feel that same way, the words just came. But lately (for the last 9 years or so) life has gotten increasingly busy and complicated and it’s harder and harder to still the noise so that I can find MY words again.
      But I am getting there. I am learning to set aside larger chunks of time, because 20 minutes in the morning just leaves me frustrated and unsatisfied. I want 3 hours in the morning. I’d like it first thing, but, of course, first thing there are other people in my life with needs – children, a husband… Once they are out of the house though, I try to quiet myself and write.
      Other days, it’s almost as if I need their noise and chaos to get my brain pumping. Basically, it’s a crap shoot. As always, I wish I could just go without sleep for a couple years. Somehow, I am sure all those extra hours hold the solution… But then again, without my dreams, I wouldn’t be writing the book I am writing now and that would be a true crime.

  4. Pingback: Write On With The Muse! | ThinkBannedThoughts Blog

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