A muse named Art

January 11, 2011

Andrew Hicks

The blank page is the writer’s worst enemy, they say. I don’t know who “they” happen to be, because I’ve never actually heard anyone say that. I think the writer’s worst enemy is probably fire. Fire destroys paper, it destroys computers, it makes the temperature in the room too uncomfortable for the writer to think of anything creative, and forget trying to get yourself readership when the building’s on fire.

But the blank page is a bastard. Starting to write — to really productively, thoughtfully write — is sometimes a process that can take days or even years. The fallacy is making yourself think that, when inspiration strikes, that’s when you’ll blaze a trail of words. Roger Ebert had a great quote along these lines: “The Muse visits during, not before, the act of composition.”

Many times, I’ve sat down to write this blog and, after finishing the post, ended up deleting the entire introductory paragraph or two. Because the true writing starts when the Muse arrives, and the Muse doesn’t usually feel at home until the words are already pouring out.

I do realize how stupid I sound writing about the Muse and even capitalizing the word. I’m mainly referencing Roger on that one. I’m the guy who got a good gut laugh from learning that Carlos Santana is visited by a muse named Art. That’s not short for Arthur. It’s short for All The Great ART That Ever There Was, Featuring Rob Thomas.

The reason I broach this topic, though, is that prior to my commitment on January 1st to produce a blog a day in 2011, I wouldn’t have even cracked the laptop lid to write a post on a day like today. It was an easy, routine, pleasant, somewhat dull day, and nothing leapt out at me as being worth capturing.

I’ve got a few cute kid stories stacked up, I’ve got some interesting backstory I haven’t touched yet, and I could always just write about baby poop and Beefaroni for 350 words, but muse or no muse, I can’t bring myself to go down that path today.

So this is what stream of consciousness writing looks like for me, I guess. This is the writing you get to read when I have to write and either don’t feel like I have anything to say or don’t want to say the few things I do have to say.

A muse named Art. A blank page. Poop. Beefaroni. “Real” words to follow tomorrow. Maybe.


Silas in the hand-me-down bouncer.

2 Responses to “A muse named Art”

  1. Woo Says:

    I like it, and find it inspirational. I completely agree, sometimes the best writing comes out when you have nothing to write about. I dig your stream of consciousness, and look forward to more. I think you write more in that style than you think though, I hear the same tone in this as in any other blog.

  2. Not the funniest set of words I have read but it is inciteful into what goes on inside the head of a professional writer.

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