Muses are like opportunities

Muses are like opportunities. They come knocking on your door at unexpected times. Sometimes you have been waiting impatiently, looking at your cellphone screen’s right hand side corner for that precise moment to strike, tapping your fingers on the side board. At times like those, you open the door without waiting or wondering who it might be in the middle of the night.

Sometimes you go out looking for muses, your hair spread wide, like a cuckoo’s nest (BTW, has anyone wondered why cuckoos keep their nests so haphazard? Maybe it’s avant garde style yet to be recognised as such). You ask stray cats, sleepy dogs and curious ravens if they have seen any muses (or opportunities can also do, please). They all shrug, look back at you like you have lost a bolt or two.

Then there are times when muses fall into your email box. There they lie, along with emails from the banks you don’t have accounts with, enthusiastic group emails of astronomy you don’t remember subscribing to and emails from sellers who are convinced you cannot do without such-and-such baby oil or book. But even when the said muses have been served to you in a platter (or in this case, your inbox), there are chances you might miss them.

You might just delete that email without opening, like you have done to other emails from this website you had subscribed to long back ago, but don’t remember why. You might open it, with cynical curiosity, scanning the email because you don’t want to go back to that synopsis you have to prepare. Even if you open it, you might fail to click the link of a short translated story of a Spanish author whose name you cannot pronounce. After all, writers and writings are out there on the internet paisa a pandrah. Then you might open the link but forget to read it as it lies waiting amongst the other tabs opened for later reads.

So that’s why if you do end up reading that story at all and realise with surprise that it was at all this time a muse, waiting to spring up and surprise you, to fire your rockers into writing,  like a virus hidden in an attachment, it’s nothing short of a miracle. The muse is an unexpected best friend that landed at your doorstep, just when you were standing in the balcony, wondering what it will feel like to jump.

All this while, all you had to do is click one email link. A simple click which would have saved you from those empty days when you look in the space and no thought welcomes you. Just a simple click. Was it meant to be? Is this how destiny works? Or is it just a web, an intricate spider web of unexpected choices you constantly make every moment of your existence? Is it free will or do you have no choice in the matter? How can you ever be sure of either?

All you can do is bow to it. Smile, thank the skies, or if you believe in chaos, thank chaos. Write a blog, write a poem and scribble down the thoughts that strike you for your novel. After all, you have been granted the gift of a muse today. It doesn’t happen every day.

This post is dedicated to a muse who came unexpectedly and resulted in this blog. Thank you Juan Villoro and Word Without Borders for the unexpected muse called Holding Pattern.

Of writing, language and search for muses

I have just finished the fourth story of The Skull Rosary, a graphic novel which if all goes well, would be out in mid 2013 in the market. This particular story was about a blind demon , but ironically it was I who was blind to him. I couldn’t see what he wanted to tell me, what he wanted me to discover, who he really was. For days I wandered alone in deserts (that’s what I name my panicked mind). Nothing came out on the paper. This was a particularly difficult one to exorcise out of me. I hope I have done you some justice, my blind demon. I know I haven’t completely written down what you could have become and what you are, but this was all I could do. I am after all a mortal and have my limits.

Now I have moved on to the fifth and final story of the graphic novel. This is about a mad woman. I think I know her but I don’t know how to write of her. How does madness speak in a logical human language? So I search for answers in various muses I know will tell me which path to start. I read the lines that Neil Gaiman scribed in The Sandman series. I scrounge the delicate, heart wrenching poetry of Kahlil Gibran who wrote The Madman which I downloaded from Gutenberg. And I reread my two favourites which talk about this particular madness: Shakespeare’s Macbeth and The Eumenides by Aeschylus. Shakespeare was inspired by Aeschylus’s lines to create his crazy three weird witches. I hope I can recreate the mad witches in some form.

I knew I wanted to read these to remember what I would have liked to write for the final story. Did the muse in me speak or did she show the way? I don’t know.

Some days writing comes to me like my neighbour’s Labrador. It laps it’s salivating tongue and wags its furry tail, desperate to be touched and loved and hugged. That day I write straight for an hour or many hours, without a break. That day I continue to write in my head, even when I am walking, drinking a coffee with my husband or watching the sky. Those are the happy days. The days when the sun shines brightly on me and my smile is for all to see.

Most of the days though, writing is a demon I need to exorcise from my mind and heart. It haunts spaces in my head I didn’t know existed. But I cannot see it or touch it, at least through logic and human language. It shows itself to me in smoky silhouettes, in corners just out of my eye’s view. It plays hide and seek with me but not to make me smile. I don’t know why it plays and why I constantly search for it. I keep looking and looking and looking and never really see it. At the end what I write, is a part of the demon that in me resides.

Not the whole, never the whole.

For the whole is but a myth, much like a rainbow’s end. You can stare at the ocean for millions of years, but at the end, you will but see just the part your eyes can.