She started whispering to me beneath the shade of our beach umbrella, during moments when I would unplug from whatever novel I was hungrily devouring that day. I’d stare out at the shimmering sea and simmering sands and I’d listen as this new muse shared with me her story.
It has been quite a while since I heard a muse speak to me, even prior to recent events that left a splintering silence within my mind. My most recent, Eddie, went quiet quite a while ago, which still saddens me. His was a funny, dark story that I very much enjoyed. I hope he comes back to me soon, to finish his tale.
So I made very certain to pay close attention to this new voice. She’s left me no name so far. That doesn’t really bother me much. She can remain nameless if that’s her preference. Beyond a strange hatred of sand, which admittedly I share with her, she seems surprisingly…normal. I’m not used to that.
I’m not typically drawn to “whole” characters. In both my own writing and the creations of others, I’m constantly drawn to and inevitably fall in love with the most damaged of the lot: the widowed CMO, the emotionally scarred ex-freedom fighter, the alcoholic Viper pilot with the damaged past, the brooding CSI with Diastema and dark secrets, the FBI agent whose entire life hinges on locating a sister missing since childhood. There is beauty in their flaws and fractures that I simply cannot resist.
So to have a character come to me with relatively no imperfections? I’m baffled. And a tad bit concerned. Can I do her justice? We’re always tasked as writers to “write what we know.” I know imperfection. Truth is, I prefer imperfection.
Then again, the “what I know” at the moment is too much for me to write right now.
I visited my mom’s grave for the first time on Sunday. Her body is buried slightly fewer than 50 miles away from me.
In weiter Ferne, so nah!
The veterans’ cemetery has yet to place a proper grave stone for her. I’m actually thankful. The thought of seeing both my parents’ names on a grave marker is a bit more than I want to handle at the moment. His must be there because he is the veteran. She simply happened to be the first casualty.
So for the first time, I stood on the ground above my mother’s grave and glimpsed the vastness of something to which I’m nowhere near edging closer. That vastness is more than I may ever be able to wrap myself around properly. At least not alone.
Here, in my lair, this public forum of private mourning, there is solace in knowing that others read my words, that I have somehow shared my sadness without actually having to ask for permission. I apologize for the passive aggressive nature of my sorrow, but I suppose, in some ways, this is how I reach out. I have never found asking for help to be an easy task. The thought at one time used to frighten me into vocal paralysis.
Introversion is a difficult mistress and she will ride you hard and put you away wet if you allow her the indignity of that indiscretion.
But to broach these feelings alone, in the solace of my small writer’s world? Not happening any time soon, I’m afraid.
So for now I lean closer and listen to the whispers of my newest muse. She’s already made her story known to me, but I’m listening for those little clues that will lead me closer to understanding her in ways that will let me give her a proper home. Perhaps she will finally be the story I complete this year. One never knows…