by CiCi Barnes
J gave us some great tips Monday on taming our muse, and now I want us to think about setting.
Spring inspires me. I walk out on my front porch, take in the budding trees, pops of color from azaleas, yellow bells, daffodils and dogwoods. Of course, there’s always the pollen to contend with, a necessary evil to get to the good stuff.
Everything comes to life: robins’ eggs - soon to be little birdies chirping away for the coveted worm from mama, buzzing bees, nature at its absolute best.
I’ve sat in my study all winter, pecking away at the computer keys trying to get through that sagging middle. With warm temps, I transfer my work to the front porch and my mind springs to life. The right word pops into my head after I’d spent a month of rainy days and Mondays looking for it. A better phrase peeps out from behind the tender young leaves of my Bradford pear trees.
When the sun beams down nice and warm, I transfer my work to the back deck. Rushing hubby just a bit, I have him open up the pool. Blue sparkling water glinting in the brightness, a gentle gurgle from the jets pumping in clean water. I am now in heaven.
As much as the new flora and fauna excite me, water is my muse’s home. Creeks, streams, rivers, waterfalls, ponds, lakes, oceans, pools, puddles, hot tubs. It doesn’t matter. Put me next to water and I start to salivate, for more reasons than one. I’m sure I must have been a fish in my other life. Even my “sign” is in the water category, Cancer the Crab. Hubby says that does fit my mood sometimes. But when I start to get crabby, he knows he can take me away, as the old Calgon commercial use to say, to any body of water and I transform. I’m suddenly cheery, open to pretty much anything, and my writing muse blossoms to rival any bush or flower the good Lord can create.
We have a little poll going on to the right side of this blog, letting you vote for your favorite spot to get you writing. The ocean started out as the winner, but I now see that a mountain cabin has edged ahead. That would be all right with me if there were a babbling brook next to that cabin.
Yes, all water gets my juices going, but I lean a little toward the ocean. Powerful, mysterious, yet calming and soothing to my soul. If I had the opportunity to stay at the beach twenty-four/seven, I might pump out books by the dozens every year. My fingers would be worn to the nub from constant typing. But that’s okay. When the fingers are gone, I can dictate with the ocean waves crashing in the background.
When I first started writing, I knew my setting would involve the ocean. That summer, I plopped myself right down on the sand, opened my notebook and stared out at the sea. Here’s what I wrote on a whim, without even knowing my character’s name yet.
The sight of the ocean spreading endlessly in both directions quickened her pulse, renewed her spirit. She pressed her hands to the small of her back, stretched, filling her lungs with the strong salt air.
Standing for several minutes on the edge of the rise, she watched the waves build, then curl and crash into a bubbling foam. Water rushed to cover land, then drew back quickly, pulling sand, shells, and seaweed with it. Such a simple, easygoing movement, yet, holding such power and energy in its clutches. Energy she needed; energy she was determined to regain as she collected her thoughts and decided her future.
I think I wrote that as much for me as I did my heroine.
Well, I’ve gone and worked myself into a frenzy. I’m ready for that trip to the beach. Coming right up in May. I’m about halfway through my WIP. Who knows, I may come home with The End written on the last page.
How about you? What is your all-time muse place? Does it thrive at a certain time of year? Need those rainy days and Mondays to ponder your next scene? Content to sit on your front porch? Just have to get away from it all to do your work justice? Give us a hint as to your perfect setting to write your perfect book.