Thanks to Kirsten at http//ascenicroute.wordpress.com/ for inspiring my own visits with the muse.
Orion is tilting in the sky, creeping to the west, heralding spring. In a month, our planet will lean toward the Milky Way gifting those of us who live in dry, high climates the most gorgeous views of the stars from Earth.
However, my life has leaned away from the starry sky of writing, tilting toward life’s situations, spinning its own story.
My sometime muse, Juan Reyes, perches on the end of my desk, holding the fifth chapter of my current novel between thumb and forefinger like a piece of literary road kill.
“I suppose you hold me responsible for this mess?” he asks, winking at me.
He’s wearing the same clothes he wore the day of his death, the day I red-shirted him in my first novel with a bullet hole over the left breast pocket and sonic flame thrower burns down the front of his camera vest. His waist-length dreads are gathered at his neck with a silver clip. The high cheek bones of an Aztec priest and the confident grin of a talented, if dead, cosmic videographer still amaze me – I wrote this gorgeous creature.
I sniff. “Well, what do you think? You wandered off on some damned galactic vision quest, leaving me alone and look what happened.”
He lights a cigarette, inhales deeply and smiles in my direction. I can almost smell the smoke.
“Don’t short out this monitor with some vain attempt to enter the corporeal world,” I shout. “It’s an iMac; it cost a fortune!”
He smiles the dark smile that broke hearts all over the universe as he shakes his head. “You twenty-first century writers think this overpriced, slick equipment is going to mine the creative recesses of your brains. Much better authors than you wrote with quill pens, pencils, or Sharpies. They didn’t allow distractions to get in their way, and they didn’t allow their personal lives to stop them.” His eyes glint at me and the edges of his body haze – a sure sign he’s leaving.
“You made the choice, my writer, ” he says. “You made the choice to concentrate on your life. Sometimes humans have to work the cards they’re dealt, but that means you have to look harder for inspiration. It is everywhere: in the imagination of friends, in the eyes of strangers, in the night sky. You just have to take the time and the courage to look.”
Juan blows me a kiss as the stars begin to glow through his body. “And, don’t forget, http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/ is just around the corner. I’ll be sending you short bursts of inspiration, 21-cm wavelengths from the stars , but you’ll have to be alert and ready to receive them.”
I grab the nearest paper and stubby pencil and scribble for a few minutes. When I look up again, he’s gone. But, I know he’ll be back, sooner than later. And I’ll be ready.
How do you find your way back from life on Earth to the realms of writing?
Photos from Foter, art from Clkr.
I was lucky. The Friday night before Christmas, I saw the Milky Way.
Photographer friends of mine would say I did not really SEE it because of light pollution However, from my son-in-law’s windswept driveway, I was able to see enough of our covering blanket of stars to know it is still twinkling above us.
Two thirds of the population of the western world have never seen the Milky Way. Light pollution is so rampant over the Earth, creeping into the night like a brilliant rash, covering the East and West Coast of America, Europe and parts of South America, that I feel privileged to catch a glimpse of our stars.
From Rick’s desolate yard in rural Colorado, I looked to the northwestern sky, let my eyes adjust (in the dark your pupils open like giant telescopes), and I watched as as a veil of stars rose overhead and twisted down to the southeast horizon. Layers of light pulsed toward me, from the palest background of the farthest star fields to a lace net of sharp pinpoints of night shine. The beauty is so profound, so unchanging, standing under its arch is a connection with creation. Although the Milky Way’s light was generated billions of years ago and is just now reaching us, it looked the same to primitive man as it does to us now.
The stars steady me. They appear in their season New Year after New Year. Long after I’m gone some yet-to-be-born woman will stand here, and she’ll be comforted by the stars. She’ll wonder how long the stars have been here and how long they will shine. And, if I could, I’d l tell her.