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Multicultural Muses : Landscape as Muse

Multicultural Muses

Landscape as Muse

By Molly J. Anderson-Childers

I got the idea for this article in the middle of a wild-assed Colorado hailstorm on a day in July. We have a tin roof, and during a storm like that, all you can do is hunker down and wait it out. You can't hear yourself think — or anything else, for that matter. Conversation — even a written conversation with myself in a notebook — is impossible. In the end, you can only seek shelter and surrender to the storm. It is best to come to writing in the same way, I think... an inspiration can take you over with the same ferocity, drowning out everything else in a storm of words.

First, make sure you are safe and warm — sheltered. Your basic needs must be met first; you have to take care of yourself if you are going to write. It's a tough job, and only the strong and true of heart need apply. If you do not burn for this thing; this calling, this passion borne of putting pen to paper, and letting them dance... then you won't last a minute. Not even a day.

Find a safe place to ride out the storm — words or hailstones can cause a lot of damage if you're not properly prepared for them. Warm it with your inspiration, your passion, your soul's sweet fire. Put pen to paper and try to get out of their way so that they can tango, fox-trot, and do the watusi all over the page. When it feels like you can't write fast enough to keep up with the words tumbling into your mind, then you are doing something right.

Don't complain that you're blocked, boring, that you have nothing to say. I won't believe it. I am an expert on all forms of creative avoidance and blockages, and I can tell you this — 99% of the time, you're not blocked, you're just being lazy.

Get off your ass and write something. I hear you whining and kvetching out there, "I don't want to... I can't... I don't have time... I'll do it tomorrow." Ha! You don't have the time... you make the time, if you want this badly enough. If you burn you will write because you can't live without it, because you'd surely go mad if you couldn't write. Everyone gets just 24 precious hours every day, and no one is going to give you any more than that because you're a suffering artist. Quit whining and write. It is your job, your one and holy purpose on this earth.

You tell me you're blocked? I laugh, and then I challenge you to write anyway; to write when you don't feel like it; when you're sure that all of your ideas are stale. This is part of the discipline that writing requires — no, demands — of you. There are a hundred other things I could be doing right now, even as I type this, but I'm on deadline. My kitchen is filthy; I'm hot and sticky from a day at work in the sun; I'd rather be in Rio... and I still have a deadline to meet. You must learn to burn through your resistance and write.

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