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.
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.
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?