The Muse Is In the Music
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.