The Muse Is In the Music

Hi there! I’m Tracy and this is my first foray into the world of  blogging.

There are two reasons I’ve been reluctant to blog.  One, I am severely technologically challenged.  Just ask our brilliant site administrator!  And two, I really didn’t think I had anything important to say.  So say my teenagers anyway.  But, with encouragement from the five talented authors who share this spot, I’m taking baby steps on to the Web.  After all, I’m a writer, how hard can this be?  I might even be inspired to fire up a website!

Or course, next comes the little problem of figuring out WHAT to blog about.

Staring at that blank computer screen makes me want to run for my daughter’s sock draw.  It’s a poor mother who lets her child wear mismatched socks to school, even if the little diva insists it’s the latest fashion.  At this point, I hope my inner muse will kick in.   Except I haven’t ever been able to get in touch with my inner muse.  Not for lack of trying.  Every writing conference I attend, I promptly seek out the workshop promising to help authors find the elusive creature.  Locating a comfortable chair, I pick up my pencil and paper, anxiously waiting to glean the secret to writing success.

And then I doze off.  I’d like to think it’s because these sessions are held after lunch or cocktails, but I think it’s because I’m not a big believer in the muse concept.  Probably why mine doesn’t talk to me.

Seriously, my secret to jump starting whatever I happen to be writing can be found in my iPod.  Whenever I’m stuck, I lace up my sneakers, pop in those ear buds and hit the treadmill.  No, I’m NOT one of those authors who strap their laptops to the treadmill so they can bang out a few chapters while they exercise.  My coordination is about as developed as my computer skills.  But, I do use the time to craft the heart of the article or novel I’m working on.  The music helps me tune out whatever else is happening around me—remember those teenagers?—allowing my imagination to do wonderful things with my characters.

It’s a method that’s always worked for me.  And for years, the soundtrack to my creative writing has been provided by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.  Just ask my college roommates.  They used to watch me pound out a term paper or newspaper article while hunkered down in front of my faithful Springsteen poster, Thunder Road blaring through my headphones.  That battered poster made it all the way to my cubicle in a crowded Capitol Hill annex building, hanging as a sentry while I crafted thousands of pages of reports and testimony, the E Street band rocking out over my Walkman.

For those of us die hard Springsteen fans, this summer has been a sad one.  On June 18, the Boss’s sidekick, Clarence Clemons, died at the age of 69 from complications resulting from a stroke.  Affectionately known by fans as The Big Man, the six foot four, 250 pound Clemons served as Springsteen’s saxophonist and wing man for nearly four decades.  He brought the muscle to the band with his tenor sax and big smile.   Whether his melodic saxophone riffs were wailing on Jungleland and Tenth Avenue Freeze Out or sending us happily off in Waiting for a Sunny Day, Clemons was integral to Springsteen’s magic of telling stories through music.   New generations of fans were just getting turned on to Clemons as he leant his talents to other recordings, most recently performing on Lady Gaga’s Born This Way. 

Clarence Clemons died too young.  Fortunately, his music lives on to prod me out of my writer’s block each day.  Hey, I guess I do have a muse after all!  Thanks Clarence.

About Tracy Solheim

Best-selling author of the Out of Bounds series--sexy, contemporary sports romance novels. See what she's up to at

Posted on July 22, 2011, in Blog Posts. Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. As someone who has known Tracy for years, she doesn’t need a muse, even one as talented as Clarence. She is one of the most driven people I’ve ever met and an inspiration to those of us lucky enough to call her a friend. Thanks for sharing your musical inspiration.

  2. I do think that sometimes the muse disguises herself as hard work and dedication. This morning I was mulling over what to write about and had already decided it would be music. Hope you don’t think I am a copy cat, but we may share the same muse!

    • But wait, aren’t you a fabulous singing star from across the pond?! Hold on to your good thang, girl. I’m honored to share the same muse. I think your iPod playlist is equally as eclectic as mine. Write on girlfriend.

  3. Nice first blog post, Tracy! Springsteen, Clarence, the entire E Street Band have been my life long soundtrack.

  4. Yay Tracy!! Great first post! See…now you’re a blogger. 🙂

    Laughed at the mis-matched socks. My sixteen year old does that too. She has probably fifteen different colored shorty socks, and wears them mismatched on purpose because that’s the style. Then rolls up hair bands and diff colored ponytail bands up her arms along with beaded necklaces she turns into bracelets. Back in my day, Madonna would be proud. 🙂

  5. Yes! What’s up with that look? I thought she was color blind until she told me she was doing it on purpose. 🙂

  6. My muse is a fairy princess with lovely fluttery wings and a purple gown. She wears a tiara, has a snooty attitude, and loves to laze around in the corner of my mind. While hiding out there, she snarfs down chocolates and taunts me with the fact that the chocolates don’t land up on her butt like they do mine.

    When she does finally make an appearance, she mutters a lot which makes it difficult to hear her. I personally think she’s a witch in disguise, has a huge wart on her nose and gives out poisoned apples to young children. She’s taking the day off today because it’s raining here and she says the rain clouds her thoughts and makes her sleepy.

    But I’ll keep her because she’s mine and I love her like she was one of my own kids. Plus she cleans up after herself. 🙂

    Great post, Tracy. I love to hear about other people’s muses!

  7. Sheila, anyone who cleans up after themselves is a keeper in my book!

  8. As one of the college roommates to which Tracy refers, I can attest to her love of “Bruce” (a word which echoed through our campus apartment many times) and the E Street Band. I don’t know that you need a muse, Tracy; I believe in your inherent talent and know your writing success is imminent, but isn’t it great to have that old music to drown out the unpleasantries of life and conjure up some great memories? Love you, my writer friend!

  9. Diane,
    Thanks for ALL your love and support throughout the years! Most of all, thanks for not throwing that poster and my Bruce albums out the 12th floor window when you had the chance. 🙂

  10. It is the music in us that makes a difference when we begin any creative process … be it writing or other art forms.

    Your muse is alive and healthy and lovingly reminds us of how much music is an integral part of what we do. Yeah, I also think the sax is a very sexy instrument … the sound reaches inside and warms my middle 🙂

    Thanks Tracy, loved this post.

  11. Yeah, there is nothing sexier than a sax player. I should know, I married one!

  12. What is the correct way to send congratulations on your 1st Blog? Way to Blog, Nice Blogging? How about, I really enjoyed my first Blog reading on your first Blog! You have quite the talent.

  13. Congratulations Tracy! You already know that I’m full of admiration for your work habits! I just may have to start using the boss to try to channel some of your success:)

  14. Hi Tracy! Late in coming to this but not for lack of attempting to break away and do it. I loved your first blog post! No one would ever read it and say, “She doesn’t know how to BLOG!” I remember those college days when I blared (get this) Elton John! Oh my goodness, me oh my, I can’t believe I did that. Then, that segued into the Grateful Dead. Now THAT I can relate to…still. Blogs are all about people getting to know you and after reading yours, I feel that’s what’s going on.

  15. That was terrific!!! can’t believe it was a first!! 🙂 Jeanna, w/a jink willis

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