Writing > Writer's Talk

My muse has fled

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I have been unhappy for most of my life. I'm not complaining; merely making an observation.

These last few years, the unhappiness is no longer there. Sure, like everyone else, I have my unhappy moments but for the most part, I'm happy - for the first time in my life. It's strange, how becoming disabled, getting a divorce, and having to start over should result in happiness rather than even more unhappiness, but somehow, that's what happened.

There's a drawback though. (Isn't there always?)

My muse fed on my unhappiness and now that the unhappiness has gone, so has she. I miss her. I don't miss the unhappiness - I'm no masochist - but I do wish I could entice my muse to come back to me.

I know I can still write. Technically. It's just that it seems like I've no stories left to tell. The old, sad stories seem obsolete and hollow now, but I don't know how to write happy ones. I don't even like them.

So for now, I'm just writing non-fiction, which feels wrong. As if I'm not really writing, but I guess at least I'm keeping those fingers busy. So be it.

For now.

Your muse probably just needs time to adjust to your new life.

But contentment is sometimes the enemy of creativity.  Having a regular pension and relatively modest needs has slowed me down a bit.

I'm not saying you have to be miserable to be creative, but it often seems to come from being slightly unsettled.  If there's something not quite right in your life, especially if it's something you can't do anything about, then your mind will create something else you can control.

You've recently got a new home, and decorating and fitting it out will have used up your creative energies for a while.

Sooner or later you'll see or hear something which will prompt you to start asking the 'what if' or 'how come' questions again.


That's certainly true, Gyppo. I even hardly find the time to play the piano and sing. Or read. So now I'm putting these three things on my ToDo list every day. Then, even if I only get ten minutes of each activity done, I can cross those off and won't feel like I'm becoming some stuffy bureaucrat. (As if that could ever happen anyway, hah!)

My writing used to be my escape from reality. The worlds I created were the worlds where I would want to live, even if they were far from perfect, they were still better than what I had - if only because I was in control. But now there's no need for escape.

I do think I'll learn to write from my new, happy place. It's the adjustment that's the hardest bit. I just haven't been able to attract a muse that feeds on happiness yet, but I have to trust she'll find me. Somehow. Some day.

Jo Bannister:
You're also in (I think) or at least approaching that age-group which consistently qualifies as the happiest time of life.  Not your school-days (dear God, I wish someone had told me that was a myth!) or your high-earning years, or the time when you're wealthy enough but still fit enough to travel extensively.  Independent studies repeatedly show that it's people whose bodies are getting a bit creaky and whose futures are getting a bit short, and whose pasts are getting a bit hazy, who report feeling happiest.

What's not a myth is that starving (slightly) in garrets (with adequate heating) is good for artists.  Not being sure where your next meal (or possibly your next meal out) is coming from focuses the creative mind wonderfully!

Accept and enjoy your new happiness.  You probably will want to write again at some point; but how much would it matter if you didn't?  Haven't you already got the tee-shirt?

I'm not exactly sure which age-group that would be, but I'm definitely in it or nearing it. That much I can say with a 100% certainty.

And don't get me started on those supposedly blissful school-days. They were the worst years of my life, without a trace of doubt. Those were the years I was usually passively suicidal, and occasionally actively suicidal. They were worse than the years I spent as an in-patient in a mental hospital, where - looking back - I didn't even belong.

Also, which tee-shirt is that?


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