Inspiration

Charlie
Jo, here, introduced by Charlie, who loves glittery things. He says if he’s to have such a public role he needs better pictures. And more glittery things. 🙂

Sometimes we wonder where stories come from. Certainly people ask us. “Where do you get your ideas?”

We don’t know, and so we often talk about a muse. That gets us into trouble, though, because it links with musing and we seem dreamy and unfoccused, the sort of person who sits in a pensive dream waiting for the muse to deliver a gift-wrapped piece of inspiration.

Muse, by the way, comes from muzzle and was originally used for hounds, the sort who were supposed to keep their muzzles to the ground as they tracked game, so sticking it up in the air meant they were shirking.

But we really mean the classical muses, who are supposed to inspire and bring gifts from the gods, and I think most authors have a sense of inspiration and occasionally, even of magical gifts. Some stories do come as gifts, at least the beginnings, the spark, perhaps even a few vivid scenes. On the other hand, I can sit at the computer and pound the keyboard for hours and not produce anything special at all. We can all type lots of words, but are they special enough to ask people to pay to read them?

We’re an arrogant lot, we writers, especting people to pay for our wordsmithing, but if we’re worth anything it’s because of that extra something that comes from who knows where and who knows why.

Chateau2
And in some way that seems to connect with this photograph that recently surfaced in our archives of a chateau we glimpsed in France. A real one in the sense of lived in, even though it doesn’t look it.

Amaranthsm This is a picture of the amaranth I grew last year, amazing 6 foot plumes from tiny seeds.

Who’s to say what’s real and what’s illusion? If there are chateaux in the woods and flowers growing tall from tiny seeds; if there are sunsets and rainbows, never ceasing to delight, no matter how many we see; then there can be magic and muses as well in my world.

What do you think? Is it flaky to see some of this as magical?

Jo 🙂

15 thoughts on “Inspiration”

  1. Stories certainly turn into magic. At least yours do, and the other wenches, of course. I only hope mine do. Time will tell.
    I’m glad to hear such a successful author describe my muse… or that mine works exactly like yours! It certainly drives the point home about good writing though, eh. Whether I’m a good enough wordsmith to make these germs of inspiration come to life on the page is entirely up to me. Muses don’t type, as far as I know.
    My muse gives me the first scene… and sometimes a few along the way. The muse does dialogue… at times. That’s it. I must do the rest.
    Cathy

    Reply
  2. Stories certainly turn into magic. At least yours do, and the other wenches, of course. I only hope mine do. Time will tell.
    I’m glad to hear such a successful author describe my muse… or that mine works exactly like yours! It certainly drives the point home about good writing though, eh. Whether I’m a good enough wordsmith to make these germs of inspiration come to life on the page is entirely up to me. Muses don’t type, as far as I know.
    My muse gives me the first scene… and sometimes a few along the way. The muse does dialogue… at times. That’s it. I must do the rest.
    Cathy

    Reply
  3. Stories certainly turn into magic. At least yours do, and the other wenches, of course. I only hope mine do. Time will tell.
    I’m glad to hear such a successful author describe my muse… or that mine works exactly like yours! It certainly drives the point home about good writing though, eh. Whether I’m a good enough wordsmith to make these germs of inspiration come to life on the page is entirely up to me. Muses don’t type, as far as I know.
    My muse gives me the first scene… and sometimes a few along the way. The muse does dialogue… at times. That’s it. I must do the rest.
    Cathy

    Reply
  4. Hi Jo!
    No, it’s not flakey. There is magic in the world. I’ve seen it. Experienced it. Anyone can if one is only willing to admit its existence. Those that refuse to believe, will never quell the magic, but only stifle themselves.
    I love your word picture… six foot plumes from tiny seeds. You, as the gardener, gave those tiny seeds a chance to show what they could do the day you planted them in the ground. The days you spent watering, weeding and spraying. Sort of like what you and the other Wenches do with the gift your muses bring.
    I’ve met many people who, I believe, have been granted one of those tiny seeds. I can ‘see’ it in them. But they often refuse to do what it takes to nurture their seed into a marketable story. Their loss. Ours too, really. Books change the world because they change people by altering ideas. Many rulers in history recognized this, especially Hitler. He was famous for saying ‘What luck for rulers that men do not think.’ And he was right. Men (and women) don’t think in the absence of new ideas.
    IMHO, every book teaches something new, confirms something old or refutes a long held idea by planting its seed in our hearts. And then we become something that we were not before, and we are changed. Magic.
    –the littlest wenchling, who loved SECRETS OF THE NIGHT.

    Reply
  5. Hi Jo!
    No, it’s not flakey. There is magic in the world. I’ve seen it. Experienced it. Anyone can if one is only willing to admit its existence. Those that refuse to believe, will never quell the magic, but only stifle themselves.
    I love your word picture… six foot plumes from tiny seeds. You, as the gardener, gave those tiny seeds a chance to show what they could do the day you planted them in the ground. The days you spent watering, weeding and spraying. Sort of like what you and the other Wenches do with the gift your muses bring.
    I’ve met many people who, I believe, have been granted one of those tiny seeds. I can ‘see’ it in them. But they often refuse to do what it takes to nurture their seed into a marketable story. Their loss. Ours too, really. Books change the world because they change people by altering ideas. Many rulers in history recognized this, especially Hitler. He was famous for saying ‘What luck for rulers that men do not think.’ And he was right. Men (and women) don’t think in the absence of new ideas.
    IMHO, every book teaches something new, confirms something old or refutes a long held idea by planting its seed in our hearts. And then we become something that we were not before, and we are changed. Magic.
    –the littlest wenchling, who loved SECRETS OF THE NIGHT.

    Reply
  6. Hi Jo!
    No, it’s not flakey. There is magic in the world. I’ve seen it. Experienced it. Anyone can if one is only willing to admit its existence. Those that refuse to believe, will never quell the magic, but only stifle themselves.
    I love your word picture… six foot plumes from tiny seeds. You, as the gardener, gave those tiny seeds a chance to show what they could do the day you planted them in the ground. The days you spent watering, weeding and spraying. Sort of like what you and the other Wenches do with the gift your muses bring.
    I’ve met many people who, I believe, have been granted one of those tiny seeds. I can ‘see’ it in them. But they often refuse to do what it takes to nurture their seed into a marketable story. Their loss. Ours too, really. Books change the world because they change people by altering ideas. Many rulers in history recognized this, especially Hitler. He was famous for saying ‘What luck for rulers that men do not think.’ And he was right. Men (and women) don’t think in the absence of new ideas.
    IMHO, every book teaches something new, confirms something old or refutes a long held idea by planting its seed in our hearts. And then we become something that we were not before, and we are changed. Magic.
    –the littlest wenchling, who loved SECRETS OF THE NIGHT.

    Reply
  7. Nina and Cathy, great posts!
    Cathy, I love that “muses don’t type.” So very true. And Nina, yes, the seed gets nowhere without a little help.
    Well, I have to say that some weeds seem to manage in the worst conditions, clutching to life in a crack in the asphalt for example. I’m not sure what to do with that analogy as they never flourish, but do sometimes seed.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  8. Nina and Cathy, great posts!
    Cathy, I love that “muses don’t type.” So very true. And Nina, yes, the seed gets nowhere without a little help.
    Well, I have to say that some weeds seem to manage in the worst conditions, clutching to life in a crack in the asphalt for example. I’m not sure what to do with that analogy as they never flourish, but do sometimes seed.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  9. Nina and Cathy, great posts!
    Cathy, I love that “muses don’t type.” So very true. And Nina, yes, the seed gets nowhere without a little help.
    Well, I have to say that some weeds seem to manage in the worst conditions, clutching to life in a crack in the asphalt for example. I’m not sure what to do with that analogy as they never flourish, but do sometimes seed.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  10. Wow, I just want to say what very thoughtful and thought-provoking posts these are today! It’s so true that Muses don’t type and that some books really can change the world — very possibly, each and every book or story affects a little change in the reader, even if it’s just a temporary change of mood for an afternoon.
    And it’s very nice to be paid for this wordsmithing addiction–if only they’d ante up more often and more generously, haha. A check every few months can be a sobering life experience. Other than that –I love my Muse, and I wish she’d come visit me more often.
    I love the amaranth plant, and the analogies. Didn’t know the bit about the muzzles, how interesting!
    Cheers to Charlie, the CPK who loves bling!
    ~Susan, diving back to edits and whistling for lounging Muse

    Reply
  11. Wow, I just want to say what very thoughtful and thought-provoking posts these are today! It’s so true that Muses don’t type and that some books really can change the world — very possibly, each and every book or story affects a little change in the reader, even if it’s just a temporary change of mood for an afternoon.
    And it’s very nice to be paid for this wordsmithing addiction–if only they’d ante up more often and more generously, haha. A check every few months can be a sobering life experience. Other than that –I love my Muse, and I wish she’d come visit me more often.
    I love the amaranth plant, and the analogies. Didn’t know the bit about the muzzles, how interesting!
    Cheers to Charlie, the CPK who loves bling!
    ~Susan, diving back to edits and whistling for lounging Muse

    Reply
  12. Wow, I just want to say what very thoughtful and thought-provoking posts these are today! It’s so true that Muses don’t type and that some books really can change the world — very possibly, each and every book or story affects a little change in the reader, even if it’s just a temporary change of mood for an afternoon.
    And it’s very nice to be paid for this wordsmithing addiction–if only they’d ante up more often and more generously, haha. A check every few months can be a sobering life experience. Other than that –I love my Muse, and I wish she’d come visit me more often.
    I love the amaranth plant, and the analogies. Didn’t know the bit about the muzzles, how interesting!
    Cheers to Charlie, the CPK who loves bling!
    ~Susan, diving back to edits and whistling for lounging Muse

    Reply
  13. The site was down for me all yesterday, and the pics in this post still don’t work when clicked on.
    Lovely flower. Why doesn’t one of you name a heroine Amarantha?
    To Amarantha, that she would dishevel her Hair
    AMARANTHA sweet and fair,
    Ah, braid no more that shining hair!
    As my curious hand or eye
    Hovering round thee, let it fly!
    Let it fly as unconfined
    As its calm ravisher the wind,
    Who hath left his darling, th’ East,
    To wanton o’er that spicy nest.
    Every tress must be confest,
    But neatly tangled at the best;
    Like a clew of golden thread
    Most excellently ravellèd.
    Do not then wind up that light
    In ribbands, and o’ercloud in night,
    Like the Sun in ‘s early ray;
    But shake your head, and scatter day!
    Richard Lovelace. 1618–1658

    Reply
  14. The site was down for me all yesterday, and the pics in this post still don’t work when clicked on.
    Lovely flower. Why doesn’t one of you name a heroine Amarantha?
    To Amarantha, that she would dishevel her Hair
    AMARANTHA sweet and fair,
    Ah, braid no more that shining hair!
    As my curious hand or eye
    Hovering round thee, let it fly!
    Let it fly as unconfined
    As its calm ravisher the wind,
    Who hath left his darling, th’ East,
    To wanton o’er that spicy nest.
    Every tress must be confest,
    But neatly tangled at the best;
    Like a clew of golden thread
    Most excellently ravellèd.
    Do not then wind up that light
    In ribbands, and o’ercloud in night,
    Like the Sun in ‘s early ray;
    But shake your head, and scatter day!
    Richard Lovelace. 1618–1658

    Reply
  15. The site was down for me all yesterday, and the pics in this post still don’t work when clicked on.
    Lovely flower. Why doesn’t one of you name a heroine Amarantha?
    To Amarantha, that she would dishevel her Hair
    AMARANTHA sweet and fair,
    Ah, braid no more that shining hair!
    As my curious hand or eye
    Hovering round thee, let it fly!
    Let it fly as unconfined
    As its calm ravisher the wind,
    Who hath left his darling, th’ East,
    To wanton o’er that spicy nest.
    Every tress must be confest,
    But neatly tangled at the best;
    Like a clew of golden thread
    Most excellently ravellèd.
    Do not then wind up that light
    In ribbands, and o’ercloud in night,
    Like the Sun in ‘s early ray;
    But shake your head, and scatter day!
    Richard Lovelace. 1618–1658

    Reply

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