My creative muse is a handsome young man. He’s twenty-two, dark-haired, dark-eyed and intense. He annoys me, he infuriates me, he argues with me, he loves me, he hates me and he eggs me on. He is my son Kyle.
Writing has always come easily to me, so easily that when I was in journalism school I felt like a total fraud – surely I shouldn’t be receiving a degree for something so simple. I could take complex subjects and render them simple. I never had trouble with words, not on the written page anyway.
But writing creatively was something I found impossible to do. I tried, and came up with a couple of mediocre stories. Not my thing, I thought and then one day, a year or so ago, Kyle sat down with me to tell me his story. He gave his time to help me write my memoir – based on his life, and the drugs that controlled him for so many years. I wanted to hear the story from his perspective.
We’d sit at the kitchen table. I would have my tape recorder out and we’d start one of our sessions. These sessions were never easy for me. They must have been difficult for him to – to talk of such disturbing, personal and life-changing events with your mother, of all people. I’d sit at the table listening—torn between a desire to clap my hands over my ears and my need to hear these unsettling details.
Kyle would be his usual animated and articulate self. He’d talk very loudly and at high speed, gathering his audience – me – in with the energy that springs from his wiry body, and imperceptibly, a horrible fascination would descend upon me as we discussed different portions of his life. My blood would run thin and the sides of my head would begin to throb—the very thought of deliberately sticking a needle into your body made me feel faint, but I’d force my senses to disengage. I’d ask Kyle questions in journalistic fashion to explain, for example, the difference between such things as snorting and shooting up.
Whether I publish my memoir or not is irrelevant, but the very act of writing YESTERDAY’S FIEND released something visceral in me. It freed my creative self and from it flowed my urban fantasy NAILED which I hope will be picked up soon by a literary agent.
Who is your creative muse?