Oh yes, when the muse comes back she’s dancing a jig!

Well, let’s not say that the muse came roaring back with such a ferocity this time. More like I invited her in, plied her with alcohol and fine chocolates and wooed her ass into staying. I did my damnedest to get the damn creative muse back into my backyard and guess what? It’s back!

…..okay, I’m way too exuberant about this. Let’s take it from the top.

From my last post, you saw that I was having some problems with writing. The fact is, it was more like I was having problems with life and the writing was just a symptom of a MUCH larger problem. My health has not been so spectacular this year – in fact, it’s been the worst it’s ever been. After that, I was trying to carry WAY too much work on my shoulders lately, between full time schedule at work, my coarse load at college while I try to graduate, and running role-play games. All in all, after I completed the major gaming project that was running a game at I-CON 2010, my brain was FRIED. After that, I got sick AGAIN, had some time off to spend time with friends, and then found out I had to go find another place to live pretty quickly.

All in all, I was moody, upset, depressed, and stressed to the point of nutball-soup. How the hell was I supposed to write anything except the words ‘helphelphelphelp’ over and over again? That’s not a very good place to be writing from and I knew it. So I was waiting for things to calm down again. More like I was waiting for me to get a handle on things again.

The truth is, life hasn’t calmed down. Life is still crazy. I’m six weeks to graduation and six weeks to the kick-off of the major Live Action Role-Play game that me and my friends are running. There are friend troubles, not enough time for work, I’m still getting sick, and my moods have been ALL over the place. Money troubles, work troubles, school troubles – you name it. And you know what I realized?

Pardon my language but F*** this, it’s time to get back to work.

See the fact is, things are never going to be calm. I can certainly work on calming down them down soon, getting my life in order, getting a handle on things – and that is my damn priority from now on because one cannot live like this much longer – but that isn’t going to mean that stress is going to miraculously disappear. So it’s time to get serious: either I’m a writer through thick and thin or I’m just a whiny hack who can’t make things happen when they need to happen. That’s what separates someone who is a writer from someone who just thinks they are – making it happen no matter what.

I got back on the horse on the 23rd despite having a WICKED migraine and bad stomach day. The sickness continued into the 24th and into today, the 25th but in those days? I wrote 56 pages of a new manuscript and my word count stands today at 12,965 words. It has no name yet, but it’s something and I’m really liking it. It’s simple, it’s fun, and it’s inspired by my favorite authors: Gaiman, King, Pullman, Lewis. It’s what I’ve been thinking about writing since I was eleven years old, a concept that has floated in my mind since then and it’s honest. My main character is down to earth and fun, and it is what I feel like writing right now.

I’m also going to be picking up a short story that I’ve almost finished and knocking it out, called The Bunny Grinned and submit that for a contest by the end of this week. I’m also working up some of my poetry for submission for extra credit in class. And this is on top of catching up on about six weeks of homework I’m behind in another class and going to work and working for the LARP I’m going to help run. And why? Because that’s what a writer does. A writer makes it happen no matter what. If I’m going to make this work, then I’ve got to deliver and it’s got to come from a place of no fear anymore.

So here we go. Back in the saddle. The muse can take the spare room cuz she’s going to be dropping by for a while, if I have anything to say about it.

I guess it can’t be called a completed piece because it just got workshopped in class, but it is almost completed, I believe. This was a departure from my usual fantasy and sci-fi writing, which I don’t do very often. I went ahead and tried to write a story that is one we’ve heard quite often: woman gets into a relationship, relationship is abusive, woman runs. But I wanted to do it with a new twist, and out came a story called “Of Ghosts and Sky.” It’s a departure for me because even the tone sounds different, turning it into something else that I haven’t really written before.

Completed (almost?): “Of Ghosts and Sky”

Word Count: 4,777

Pages: 16 (double spaced)

It’s a good feeling to get something different out there. I can’t describe exactly where the story came from, but when my roommate read it she said she nearly felt a panic attack coming on. Apparently, my work still does the heavy feeling of anxiety/horror well, even when I’m not aiming for overtly horrific, and that’s what I wanted to bring across. So I’ve achieved what I set out to achieve. It’s not finished, of course – my workshop in class said I had some things to adjust to make it more effective, but I think that with some changes it can be a really effective story.

Speaking of doing effective stories: I am working my way through Stephen King’s non-fiction book, Danse Macabre, his analysis of horror in not only literature but television and film. It is right up my alley as part of my studies at college have been film and television as well as literature. I’m hoping that it gives me a better appreciation of what to look for to create more effective horror. It’s given me a lot to think about in terms of what kind of psychology and themology should be going behind every story, and where the horror in a story really comes from. I really love his analysis of classic monster/horror books such as Frankenstein and Dracula as well as his recommendations about things to go out and ready/see. I am certainly tracking down a copy of Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House after everything he said.  I can’t believe the mess they made of the movie by comparison to what the book describes… though should I really be surprised?

I now have a list of stuff I need to go read, but I’m tearing my way through this book as best I can. I seriously recommend.