December 1, 2017 § 23 Comments
By Marla Mulloy
Write a letter to your muse, my writer friend said, in answer to my sad, self-loathing, whine about the writing life. So I did. I was mad.
I haven’t heard from you for a long time. I wonder, are you having a nice time on your little holiday? You must be having a holiday; you are certainly not paying any attention to me. Perhaps you are on a beach somewhere in the sun, reading something that someone has actually written? Or maybe you are simply watching people cavort in the sand or wander by the ice cream store, bored silly by my procrastination and delusion. I realize I wasn’t the easiest charge you’ve had. I realize I was hard to motivate, boring to watch. Most likely, you are in my living room sitting in that chair that I placed near the small table where I put the candles and the incense and made space for my yoga mat, under the hanging branches of the Norfolk pine. You are occupying that chair that I placed in this inspirational place for the purpose of writing. Yes, likely you are there, grinning at me as I try to be a writer, waiting for me to just sit down and write. I know I need to do this every day. I know. Many great writers have told me this lately, in their own writing. It is not magic, it is discipline. It is loving the discipline and then reveling in the magic of it.
I lived in Niagara on the Lake one summer, actually two summers, but one in particular involved writing. I wrote three stories that summer. I wrote and rewrote them by hand. On paper. With a pen. I spent afternoons in the Niagara on the Lake library looking up places and facts. I did research. At a library. In books. I wrote about what I knew. Fathers and daughters. Infidelity. And the clumsiness which is sometimes present in finding balance in a new relationship. I was purposeful and true. I even brought one of those stories, submitted it actually, to a writer in residence at the Toronto Public Library – the massive downtown branch that had everything from a bustling children’s section to a reverent, silent reference section that required awe and confidence to even consider entering, as well as permission from the steely woman at the desk. It had a most comprehensive theatre section. I knew about this because my fiancé and all his theatre colleagues would talk about it when they wanted to sound sharp and academic. So I went to see the “writer-in-residence” and I cannot remember a thing he said. And then I got married, I went to work at my new job, I had children and that was that.
So now, oh muse, I must begin again. Or, rather, continue. I am trying. I am thinking about writing a lot. I am waiting for you, looking for you. And I guess what you are telling me is that I cannot wait for you to show up and inspire me. I must just do it and do it some more, actually write words on paper, and you will poke your head in now and then and encourage me. Or laugh at me. Or help me laugh at myself.
Will you steer me or simply stare me into action? I’m going, I’m going.
Regards and love,
Marla Mulloy is an aspiring writer with an evolving collection of poems and stories, one of which has recently been published in The Timberline Review. She has been a teacher and now works with refugees in Calgary. Much of her writing reflects the experience of refugees, documenting through story the paths that brought them here and how they create home in new places. She continues to share her writing through her blog: www.tossingwords.wordpress.com