Writer’s Laryngitis

It’s rare my surly muse visits, and my writing has suffered in his absence. But, since I’ve reminded myself sucess is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration, I’ve resisted the impulse to press the M key. Until now.

Alive or dead, Juan Reyes really is one of the most extraordinary characters I created. In case you don’t know, he was a videographer in my first novel. I killed him off so, in tribute to his stunning journalistic talent, good looks, irrepressible humor and selfishness, I resurrected him as my muse.

Tonight, in a gesture to the holidays, he wears new clothes, a black leather duster and broad-brimmed hat instead of his usual blood-stained fatigues. The overall effect is a bizarre combination of  western bad-guy and 1970s pimp. While I don’t comment on his clothes, I know he wouldn’t mind the comparison.Black leather jacket

Concern flickers in his eyes but, never given to sentimentality, a flirtatious grin immediately replaces worry.

“Been a long time since you summoned me,” he says, flashing his lighter and inhaling rapturously. Smoke wreaths my keyboard and while I can’t smell it, I remember the feeling.

I glance at him. He’s standing closer than usual tonight, almost within reach. Although he can’t enter the corporeal world, I have the strong feeling he wants to hug me.

“Laryngitis,” I say, turning to face him. “You know, my voice is gone.”

“Your voice sounds fine to me, but if it’s really a problem, try gargling with Jack Daniels twice a day.” In spite of his irreverent comment, he looks down at me, his dark face serious.

“Juan, I didn’t call you because…it took a while to figure out what was wrong with my book. My writer’s voice is gone, lost.”

dreadlocks 2He shakes his head, black dreads swirling over his shoulders. “I knew it was serious. I thought it was just my equipment when your words stopped coming. You put your WIP away, didn’t you?”

I nod.

“Don’t worry, girl,” Juan says, moving closer. I almost feel a rush of air as he brushes his hand over my keyboard and a single sentence appears on the monitor:


“There’s no shame in quitting,” he whispers.  “Keep in mind the world you created will serve you well in the next novel. You have a character who’s so powerful, wise and relentless, I’m almost jealous. You’ll use him again. You have lyricism you’ll repeat while you fold it in with new inspiration.”

He crosses his arms. “When you blog about me, that’s your voice. That’s the way your world is. Remember: the definition of writer’s voice is the intangible power you use to make the reader wish he could live in your book or make him damned glad he doesn’t. It’s a sensibility; it’s like me. Always there in the background, adding all three dimensions, running like illegal software in the reader’s mind. He’s not even aware what’s happening, but you’re seducing him while he reads.”

We’re silent for a moment, and then he says, “I think we should watch a Christmas movie, don’t you?”

“Anything for you, muse. Which one did you have in mind?” I ask, my cursor hesitating over Netflix.

DIEHARD! Love all that 20th century American cursing,” he laughs.

“One of my personal favorites,” I agree and, as a young Bruce Willis fills the screen, my muse fades into the starlight of my office window.window stars

Have you ever misplaced your writer’s voice, if so, what did you do to regain it?


Photos: Foter











8 thoughts on “Writer’s Laryngitis”

    1. Running sounds great. I’m still in recovery mode from health problems, and I think that my physical inactivity has affected my creativity. Once I can get moving again, there’ll be no stopping me. I won’t even need Juan:)

  1. Isn’t it funny how our muses continually tug at us to walk away from the work? Sometimes, I’m sure of it, the answers lie elsewhere, in a song, in a good book, or in a tough guy movie. Only a muse would have the audacity to point that out, as we doggedly keep doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. (I’m paraphrasing Einstein here, maybe Juan has met him on the other side? 😉 )
    It’s always good to see Juan, although I bet he’d enjoy hanging out when things aren’t so dire!

    As for your question, mostly, when my writer’s voice goes silent it’s due to sleep deprivation, which is easily remedied. All that coffee can get a writer wired!

    1. Good point, Kirsten. My answers lie in continuing recovery, physical activity, and fresh air…and tough guy movies. As for Juan, he’s headed for the Bahamas. Next time I see him, our time together will be much more upbeat!

      I’ll take the coffee under advisement. A little caffine buzz certainly can’t hurt. Since I wrote the Jaun blog, I have outlined a just-for-fun alternate ending for the now stashed WIP. I’d forgotten this stategy. When there is no chance your story will see the light of day, the pressure is off and it feels great. Frees you up. The most amazing things immerge from this kind of creativity:)

  2. Die Hard, the quintessential Christmas film, it has everything you need to celebrate Christmas…Twinkies, vests and calling people Bubby. as for misplacing my writer’s voice, I do that all the time..in fact I start to wonder if I ever really had one!

    1. Since we just bought a new TV, I’ll be watching more than a few more favorite Christmas movies over the next weeks. And, never fear, Ste J, your writer’s voice is alive and well!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: