You may be wondering why there was no update here yesterday.  I was puzzled myself, until I received the following on the back of a postcard of Whitby Abbey:

Weather is here,

wish you were lovely.

Sincerely, your muse.

OK, obviously I received nothing of the sort.  I spent most of yesterday sewing bits of fabric onto a vest while watching back-to-back episodes of Rome.  I didn’t post anything, because I honestly couldn’t think of anything to post; clearly, my muse took a short holiday.

There are no such things as muses, any more than Santa Claus, god or fairies (except on the Isle of Man, where they are pretty common and tend to cause trouble if not placated).  A muse is a convenient metaphor for inspiration; however, metaphors, especially for writers, have a habit of taking on a life of their own.

I wonder how many of my writing friends have anthropomorphised muses.  Casee Wilson refers to hers in her song “Midnight Blues” with the fantastic line “Cuddled up to my insomnia and waiting for my muse”; Stephen King goes into a fairly detailed description of his in “On Writing”.

King speaks of his muse as the janitor of the basement in his head where “the ideas come from”, an analogy I love.  Mine I like to see as the sort of sulky teenager I never quite was; my own personal Tyler Durden.

She wears silver jewellery and too much eyeliner; too much makeup altogether, frankly.  The sort of girl who might be pretty, if she’d only have a good wash and some decent clothes, and for goodness’ sake, smile properly, you’ve got such a lovely smile, and comb your hair for a change.  And don’t look at me in that tone of voice, madam.  You know.  That sort of girl.

The sort I was always too afraid of offending people to be.  Someone who knows she’s a walking cliche, and doesn’t care; someone who goes out of her way to cause trouble, partly because it makes her feel important and partly because nobody can make a difference in the world without pissing people off once in a while.  She cares passionately about things, and people, and causes; and hides it (poorly) behind a wall of contempt and cynicism.  She blurts out inappropriate remarks because she thinks they’re funny.  When nobody laughs (and sometimes when they do) I feel embarrassed.  She doesn’t.

I hope she comes back soon.  I miss her.