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Sunflower Photo © Molly Anderson Childers
Creativity Under Fire : Muses in Hibernation

Creativity Under Fire

Muses in Hibernation

By Molly J. Anderson-Childers

This month, I would like to begin my article with a little departure from the norm. As we leave an old year behind to embrace the new, I encourage you to spread your wings, branch out, take risks, and live your juiciest dreams.

As a special New Year's treat for my Creativity Portal readers, I've written a flash fiction story to introduce this month's topic on Creativity Under Fire: Muses in Hibernation. I'm also including some fantastic photos fresh from my creative garden, and a poem… all presented humbly here, for your delectation.

Photo © Molly Anderson Childers

The Queen of Winter and The Green Man

It was the bitter shank of the year. Everyone in the village was tired of slipping on the ice and stumbling through snow-drifts. Many petitioned The Queen of Winder for mercy, but she would not loose her hold on the land. On Midwinter's Eve, the night of the Solstice, she was visited by a strange apparition — a capering wild creature from the Forests of Time who called himself The Green Man. He was the Lord of the Hunt, and harbinger of Spring. The Queen summoned her guards to rid the castle of this menace, but he laughed and threw them off easily — they were no match for his strength and speed.

"Who are you? I demand to know! And what is your business with me?" the Queen asked.

"I am the Green Man. I come bearing a message — and the gift of a poem."

"A gift, you say?" Somewhat appeased, the Queen of Winter sat back on her icy throne and said, "You may stay. What is your message?"

"Your icy reign nears its end for another year. As you fade and die, returning to the Underworld, I grow tall and strong. Spring will soon grace this land again." Incensed, the Queen demanded he be thrown from the castle's highest parapet. But try as they might, the guards could not catch The Green Man. He leaped and danced about, reciting his poem. When he had come to the final words, he burst into a peal of laughter and vanished.

The Green Man's Tale
A Poem by Molly Anderson-Childers
And the winter-ladies' graces
Holding hands with certain silence
Mad soliloquies of sudden thunder break and roll, break and roll
Inevitability fades as she listens very closely
To this,
His spun-sugar fantasy
And if she only listens closely he will tell her everything.
Her sweet face smiles and she believes it all
And in its golden castle, her pocket-watch heart
tick-tocks disdainfully
And waiting, ever-waiting as he tells his crazy tale
Again and again for the audience trapped inside his head.
The Green Man listens for the music in an oak-leaf,
New-fallen to the ground,
And singing
Suddenly in the eldritch green witch-light of the coming storm,
He begins to laugh and laugh.

Photo © Molly Anderson Childers

As I meditate upon my spent morning-glories, ravaged by winter's chill and lonely light, I reflect on the wisdom of nature. For, just as my garden dies back in the fall to prepare for winter, so too do creative projects go into remission at times. Their seasons are mysterious to us — but every writer with a couple of half-finished novels in The Trunk knows exactly what I'm talking about. Ideas for books and paintings seem to hibernate in the slack tide of the year.

It is important to remember that sometimes your creative garden needs to lie fallow, resting deep beneath the snow. It doesn't mean you have writer's block — your Muse has simply gone into hibernation! (They can be dangerous if awakened from such slumbers — a sleep-deprived Muse is not a pretty sight! My advice? Let sleeping Muses lie!) Sometimes it's better to let things lie fallow than to force a dream-seed to bloom before it's ready.

Photo © Molly Anderson Childers

Unless you've got a deadline looming, why not give your muse a much-needed rest? You'll both be refreshed and eager to work if you give your creative self a break for a few days. Slack. Nap. Read trashy novels in the bathtub. Take a long walk with your shadow. Let things slide — just for today. Your Muse will thank you for it with freshly-cut ideas, bright blooms of inspiration, and newly-sprouted dream-seeds — just in time for spring. •

© 2010 Molly J. Anderson-Childers. All rights reserved.

Molly Anderson-Childers is a a highly creative writer and artist from Durango, Colorado. More »