Friday, June 18, 2021

While coaxing the muse

I framed the puzzle and hung it in my daughter's former bedroom, where guests now sleep. It was a good distraction from what I really needed to be doing, which was working. I'm doing a lot of thinking rather than writing on the new book right now. I've drafted a first chapter and hit a wall on the second. I've written words, maybe a thousand of them, but they feel unanchored to any purpose. Story for story's sake, rather than story for the sake of advancing the reader's understanding. The muse is being elusive. All I've managed of work today is banging out in all caps at the top of the chapter: "What is the point here? What do you want the reader to know about your subject at the end of this chapter? What do you want readers to feel as they read?" I've decided it's enough to simply mull these questions for now, and hope for epiphanies.


I've had a fairly challenging week socially. It included lunch with my thin and impossibly elegant agent to celebrate the past year's work, an engagement I had to make myself not cancel, feeling ungainly as I do. I wore my favorite mask, the deep satiny red of it making me bold. Lunch was fine, we were fine, we laughed and caught up and now I've shown up and I don't have to angstily breathe deeply and anticipate it any more. My name does seem to be more out there lately, as I've been fielding fairly regular inquiries from agents looking for a collaborative writer for a client. It's the bane of freelancing, the worry that these inquiries will dry up when I actually have time to take on new work once more.

The kids are coming over tomorrow. My daughter and her love proposed an ice cream party for Father's Day, as they have an ice cream maker and have become rather innovative in creating new flavors. We're doing it on Saturday because our son has to work on Sunday, but planned to spend Saturday with us for some pre-Father's Day quality time. Neither my husband nor I need ice cream, as we're both working the Noom program right now (lucky me, having that man cook all the healthy yet yummy recipes), but one has to also enjoy one's life, and an ice cream party with one's children is a rather lovely interlude.

In the midst of this post, my friend Leslie sent me this text. I posted it on my Insta story, in tears. Can I just pause to say a heartfelt thank you to each of you who read Mazie's book. I am proud of it. But I have also felt what Leslie so generously expresses in her text, that it's an important book, because it documents what actually happened in these fraught times.


  1. In my small town, there are currently 14 holds on the 4 copies that our public library purchased. The work Mazie and you did together is having a significant effect on those who are reading it now and will do that for those who will read it in the future. I couldn't agree more with Leslie's thoughts about the book.

    Lovely and timely self-portrait with your favorite mask. Sending love as you continue doing the work you love and do so well, even as it challenges you to the utmost.

  2. Beautiful mask! That is such a good color on you.
    Leslie's text was outstanding, and so are you and your talent for writing.

  3. The puzzle looks beautiful in the frame. The mask is beautiful too.

    I am in awe of you as a writer. It's my dream to write a book but I have no idea how to, nor do I have the time right now. Maybe when I retire. But it's good to know that it's a struggle, even for someone who does this for a living.

    An ice cream day with your kids sounds lovely. Take care.

  4. Thar message says it all, bravo!

  5. You're just so beautiful! And you're an amazing writer and the world is truly beginning to know that.
    I know that the muses will come forth. Have you ever read Stephen King's book "On Writing"? In it he talks about the guys in the basement who do the work while the writer is going about her business, fretting. How they are working things out so that the correct words will end up on the page. I think the guys in your basement are very busy. They are also very talented.

  6. I love that you framed the puzzle. It's really a beauty. Well done!
    That text is perfect for this moment when you await the epiphanies. They will arrive.
    Enjoy the Father's Day celebration with your beautiful family.

  7. Even when a writer isn't actively sitting at his/her desk pounding out words, she/he is writing -- because some portion of their brain is thinking about their subject. You'll work it out! I'm glad you're indulging in an ice cream with the kids for Father's Day. That seems well worth the relatively insignificant extra calories. :)

  8. I second Leslie's text! This is exactly the time that we need honest, heartfelt, real stories like Mazie's. Thanks for your great work!

  9. my muse self quarantined and I haven't been able to convince her it's time to come out. I dealt with the same things...uninspired when I had drawings to present, worrying if there will be a job waiting when I finished to current one. somehow it all managed to support us for over 40 years.

  10. Aww your Muse will return to you. She is just taking a much needed break at the moment.
    Since I moved to Nevada I had to make a appointment at the Local DMV to have my license/Identification Card updated and that appointment isn't until the end of July and I can't get a library card with an out of state license so I will have to wait to read the book and it is a good thing that I am on the waiting list because I am number 163 at the moment. I can read it online when my number comes up but I want to hold the book in my hands. Yep I am weird like that lol.
    Yum Ice Cream with your kids sound like a great way to Celebrate Father's Day or any other day to stay cool and have a great time with your family. Hugs xoxo