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11.14.13 An Author’s Journey: Interlude: “The #@%!…(Sorry) I Meant, “The Beauteous Muse” at My Office Door

11.14.13 An Author’s Journey: Interlude: The Harpy (Sorry) I Meant, “The Beauteous Muse” at My Office Door

Eustache Le Sueur, The Muses: "Clio, Euterpe, et Thalie" ("History, Song & Elegiac Poetry, & Comedy," c. 1640-1645)

Eustache Le Sueur, The Muses: “Clio, Euterpe, et Thalie” (“History, Song & Elegiac Poetry, & Comedy,” c. 1640-1645)

My wife, Sophia, came to the office door, glared at me, and then said, “What the hell?”

Given that many of our daily conversations begin this way, I paused mid-keyboarding to see if she’d clarify.  (A husband should never volunteer a response until the terrain is clearly defined; too much risk of tripping in one of the hundred other potholes I’m capable of digging in a work week.)

“The blogs,” she states, as if the two words should explain her irritation.

“What about them?” I say absently, still trying to focus on the computer screen and complete a thought.  “You’re amazed? Transported into another world by the chapter samples from the new book? Stunned by the insights I make about—”

“I’m frustrated, and sick of telling you the same thing over and over.” She holds up her iPad.  “The writing’s sometimes stiff, and I feel as if they’re lectures.  You’re writing like a ‘brainiac’ historian.  If you keep this up, no one’s going to get to know your fun side.”

Some heat comes to my cheeks.  “I’m not doing ‘fun.’   I’m trying to write a journal on a writers’ site — you know, participate in a blogging culture that will share my insight into the writing process?”

“Well, your process sucks,” she declares.  “Remember your audience!”

“Have you seen our sales?” I retort. “I don’t have an audience yet!”

“And you’re not going to get one (or anything else) at this rate…,” she says.  “Be careful, or you’ll be stiff and alone.  Not a fun prospect!”  Her charity work done, my bride departs with all the grace of a static-electric shock.

Well, that delightful exchange momentarily ended the writing moment! (Static electric, hell — these moments make me feel as if I accidentally stuck the tynes of a fork into an outlet.)  Grrr.  After one or two more failed attempts at some sentences, I give up, and direct the cursor to the bottom of my iMac screen and click the Darth Malak icon to begin playing Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (‘brainiac,’ huh…I’ll show her!).

Fuming, I mutter to myself as my avatar makes his way through a starship to battle a Sith armada.  Nevertheless, I start to wonder, “is she right?”

Harpies in the Infernal Wood (Gustave Dore, Dante's Divine Comedy, Canto 13)

Harpies in the Infernal Wood (Gustave Dore, Dante’s Divine Comedy, Canto 13)

For those of you married (or with a significant other), this moment might seem all too familiar:  after getting a reprimand from your shrieking harp-… I mean…ahem, after getting “reminded” of something important by one’s always beautiful Muse, you retreat from each other, and privately wonder if maybe, just maybe, your “better half” has a point.

I don’t like to think of myself as a stiff, but I also know that I sometimes take my interests way too seriously, and perhaps my enjoyment of those pastimes gets lost in translation.  More likely, when I try to describe something that I’m not inventing, I tend to shift into historian-mode, which, as Sophia’s often pointed out, is great for writing journal articles, but which tends to make people’s eyes glaze over.

You see, I intended these “Author’s Journey” blog entries as insights into my influences, look-sees into aspects of where my journey began.  This isn’t an imaginary ‘thing,’ or straw-man kind of need.  When I’ve presented The Codex Lacrimae at a book club (or even discussed writing with friends and family), part of the conversation inevitably turns to questions like, “what influenced you?” or “whose work do you respect, and what authors do you enjoy reading?”

Of course, I’ll still tend to that background story in these blogs – besides giving aspiring writers or sci-fi/fantasy enthusiasts some ideas, this project does have the side-benefit of giving my kids, Adriana & Seth, blueprints both for reading my favorite books, and also learning where some ideas in The Artifacts of Destiny came from.

But, in hopes of forestalling any more surprise visits at the office door from an irritated Sophia, I’ll also present the material in a friendlier way…maybe not so much on the historical lecture-circuit side of the tracks, but in a more conversational approach that strikes a different, more relaxed tone.

Stars Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Stars Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Ah, but that’s a blog for another day (er…or, tomorrow, when I resume writing about the Science Fiction interests that influenced me).  Right now, it’s back to the computer screen and fighting against the Sith Lord, Darth Malak, in a Galactic Empire some 4,000 years before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope!

Thanks for visiting,
— A.J.

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