Sunday, May 2, 2010

What inspire's your muse?

I spent all day yesterday carefully crafting my next post. After a few hours of intentional word choice, I had a wonderful bit of writing ... action at the beginning, compelling words, well written, downright insightful at times. Problem was, it sounded stuffy and pretentious, even to me. As most of you know I'm a vocalist at heart, and I hated singers like that. Warm and genuine off stage, but in the limelight they became phony, affected, perfection in singing but otherwise dead as a doornail. I never wanted to be that type of singer, why on earth would I want to be that type of writer? I kept the piece (you know, to impress friends and family), but now I'm back to being me.

Somewhere in the recesses of my pre-menopausal mind, I remembered reading something similar and so I went to a shelf I hadn't visited for a while. I finally came across a wonderful book by Thaisa Frank and Dorothy Wall entitled "Finding Your Writer's Voice". The singing references throughout spoke to me, but more than that, this was the book that inspired me to try my hand at creating with words. My copy is tattered, riddled with highlighter and post-it notes, but I found what I was looking for in chapter sixteen. Dorothy tells of a time when she was enthralled with Donald Barthelme's work. She dreamt of writing like him, creating original prose carefully crafted by his influence. When her publisher rejected it, the explanation was as follows: "... you have effaced so much of yourself and hidden away your passions so carefully, there is nothing left of yourself ...". Two chapters later, I realized that I was still standing in front of the bookshelf. I found the nearest chair and started at the beginning.

"Finding Your Writer's Voice" is at the top of my favorite instructional books, and so I've decided that the next three posts will be dedicated to the insightful thoughts of Thaisa Frank and Dorothy Walls.

If you have a favorite book (writing or otherwise) that inspired you to create, post it. I would love to read what stirred your creative muse.

Take care,
Elizabeth Isaacs