WFMAD Day 26 – Wild Spirits Soaring

Two quick reviews for you: Reading Rants weighs in on FORGE and WINTERGIRLS reviewed in Colorado.

How did your writing go yesterday? Mine floooowed. Like creekwater after a thunderstorm. Sugar pouring from a blue china bowl. Like round hips swaying under a loose skirt to a hot salsa trumpet.

Seriously. It was that good. It was hard to come back to the real world and do things like eat. Run. Brush teeth.

As the sun started to set, the Muse returned. Much to the dismay of my chickens, she arrived in the shape…

….of a large, hungry-looking








She watched the very well-protected henhouse for a while




then took to the air






and flowed





back into the Forest.



It was breathtaking. Especially for the chickens, who, I am happy to report, escaped disaster. For the moment.

Ready… “O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend
The brightest heaven of invention,” Henry V, William Shakespeare

Set… make sure any rodents or poultry you care about is under roof. Then turn off the damn phone.

Today’s prompt: Make a list of ten animals that could be your Muse. Circle the one that evokes the strongest reaction in you; positive or negative.

Write a scene in which you or a character has an interaction with this animal. At some point in the scene, the animal does something to change your emotional reaction to it. Either you first find it cute, and then disgusting. Or at first frightening, and then enchanting.

After the emotional switch, you get to ask the animal three questions. What will you ask? And what are the answers?

Scribble… Scribble… Scribble!!!

7 Replies to “WFMAD Day 26 – Wild Spirits Soaring”

  1. My Muse usually arrives in flowing cotton dress, birkenstocks, and carrying fresh produce and a pot of decaf tea. (Used to bring chocolate, but I told her I was–alas–off the substance and abusing it no longer. She sighed.) We have long conversations punctuated by refills of the tea.

    Which is not to say she isn’t fierce. More of a passive-aggressive fierceness, though. Jewish mother type, “So you didn;t write anything yet today? Feeling sickly? Have some more tea.”

    And it all ends the same way: scribble. . .scribble. . .scribble.


  2. For some years now, I have had an almost pathological fear of bears. I live in a fairly woodsy state, and the town where I grew up is the sort of small town where seeing a black bear trundling through the suburban streets is highly unusual but still not unheard of. My family and I spent a lot of time during my childhood hiking through the woods, and I enjoyed it, but during those walks the fear of bears was rarely far from my mind.

    The town where I live now is a more urban one, making bear sightings less of a concern, but I still visit home a couple of times a month. On these visits, my mother and I often take our dogs for a nice long walk through the back roads and farm fields, and while my bear-phobia isn’t quite as strong as it once was, I’m still often on High Red Alert. I’ll stare into the stalks of corn at every faint rustling, study the black dot at the end of the road to work out whether it’s a tree stump or Something More Sinister before we get any closer to it. I’m so afraid of bears that I find the four-foot-tall lifelike teddy bear that our children’s librarian uses for her Story Hours to be slightly unsettling.

    It’s not an entirely irrational fear, I guess. Bears are scary. Granted, we’re talking about black bears here, not polar bears or grizzlies — and black bears are far more likely to shy away and keep to themselves than the majority of their larger (and more aggressive) cousins. But my fear reminds me that there are always exceptions. What if I come across a mother bear with cubs? What if it’s a bear that’s sick and unbalanced? What if the bear I meet hasn’t read the right books and doesn’t know that, as a black bear, it’s supposed to be shy and reserved and steer clear of human contact? What then?

    So I’m constantly on the alert when I’m walking with Mum or the dogs or just myself, ready to start backing away (slowly, of course, you never _run_ from a bear, that could provoke it). Or at least, I’m on the alert at the beginning. More often than not, what happens is, I tend to relax as the walk goes on, as I start getting taken in by the sunset, or the flock of Canada geese paddling around in a pool of water (more a puddle than a pond), or by the conversation I’m having with my mother about work or family or dissecting the latest movie we’d just watched together. And, of course, being a phobia and all, the sudden sound of a cracking branch, or the flicker of movement behind some trees (both sounds usually from a deer or, for maximum embarrassment to my over-reaction, a chipmunk) can be enough to get my heart racing.

    But I still enjoy the walk, despite the fears. And I won’t let myself stop talking the walks, either, even though it would be easier on my nerves to just give in and give up.

    When you posted about choosing an animal you respond to, and then writing a scene in which your opinion of that animal changes — “at first frightening, and then enchanting” — it really got me thinking. It’s all very well to imagine my muse as an animal I really love (like one of those Canada geese), but — what if it’s not an animal I love at all? What if it’s the animal I fear the most? What if my muse _is_ the bear?

    I’ve struggled with getting “stuck” with my writing. Not because I start writing and don’t know where to take the story, nor because I get such a bad case of writer’s block that I don’t know where to start (although of course these things happen sometimes too). But my real problem is not being able to start in the first place, because I’m too scared that it won’t come out right. That I’ll try it and discover that I’ve been mistaken all this time — what was I thinking, I’m actually a terrible writer after all! Some part of my brain has decided that it’s scary not to try and write … but it’s far scarier to try to write and fail. Better to stay locked inside the house, you know, than go out and get eaten by the bear.

    Of course, the rest of my brain knows better than this. Most of me has come to understand that it’s far better to take one’s chances with the bear than to hide from the bear all together. After all, we’re not talking fearsome grizzly bears here, that will try to devour you every time you mistakenly cross their paths. We’re talking about black bears — who are a little bit more peaceful, a little bit more friendly, a little bit less likely to gobble you up.

    In fact, if I can get over my fear, I imagine my black bear might lead me to some pretty weird and wild and wonderful sights — things I could never hope to see from inside the house. I just have to approach my muse with the right mixture of caution and courage, with a clear mind and a cool head and a willingness to take my chances and approach the wildlife. Because sometimes, sure, the black bear’s going to swallow me whole — but sometimes she might be coming with a Story. But I have to keep taking my chances and going up to her, because if I don’t, I’ll never know which. And I’ll miss out on some pretty neat sunsets and cornfields and flocks of geese. You never know quite what you’re going to see when you go outside, after all.

    A little bit of fear — or at least respect — might be a good thing. Keep you from getting a swelled head, maybe, and help you keep enough distance from your work that when you try to revise and edit and fix, you better understand what needs revising and editing and fixing. Bears and stories are both pretty powerful forces, and you don’t want to lose sight of that.

    But you also don’t want crippling fear to keep you from going into the forest. There’s too much to see, and besides — some of the bears just might be friendly. It’s worth it to us writers to go into the forest and find them.

    … with bear MUSES, that is. Real bears, I’m still going to avoid like the Dickens.

  3. You continue to stretch me in ways I didn’t know I was stretchable.
    I’m curious about the chickens. Did they see the hawk? Do they have an innate fear of hawks?

  4. I decided to take on NaNoWriMo last November. My words hit a wall toward the end of the second week. I had already accepted before I even started the challenge that the writing was going to be chicken poo, but I suddenly realized that I really didn’t like the story at all. I didn’t know the characters. I didn’t know enough about the topic. The plot was too restrained to allow me to go wild with NaNoWriMo madness. It wasn’t fun. The temptation to scrap it and start afresh with a different story seed was almost overwhelming. But my roommates had constructed a word count thermometer out of construction paper and stickers, were celebrating the words I’d already amassed with fun little prizes, and were such enthusiastic cheerleaders that I didn’t want to disappoint them.

    For three days straight, I sat at my computer to force myself to write something, anything at all, but my mind was so blank that I couldn’t even bring myself to write, “This is an incredible waste of time.” until I hit my quota. By the fourth day, the small buffer that I had built over the first week was completely depleted and I was down by 2,000 words. While it would be a dramatic overstatement to say that I was in tears, I was feeling pretty despondent about the whole thing. So, I took a mental break with a silly Facebook game, Fairyland.

    As I was watering virtual flowers in virtual gardens, my little fairy companion spotted a little virtual mouse. He popped up on the screen and seemed to squeak “Me! Me! Write about me!” *SPLOOSH!* Words sprang from a tiny crack in the concrete wall. I returned to my word document just in time record the deluge as the dam collapsed. I sent my main character on a wild mouse chase through her mother’s flower garden. Gradually, a few of the other characters were drawn into the hunt. I was elated! NaNoWriMo madness at last! It was wild, crazy, unpredictable, and had me howling. 3,000 words later, I finally came up for air. I wanted to keep going, but it was well past midnight and I worked the next day. Who thought a pixel mouse could be a muse!

  5. Today one of my characters compared herself to the freedom of a bird. Yeah, it’s very cliche, but it fit the moment. However my brain was hitting a writing block tonight. It would not produce many words. :Sigh:
    I’ll see if my Muse comes bearing good words. All I must do is wait.

  6. My muse.

    My muse is always the person I am writing to _right now_. I’m so danged all fired up about the incredible depth and possibility of a human being, so moved and inspired by the frickin’ phenomenal power for good that exists within a person that I can’t dare be still about it.

    I don’t know how my muse will ever turn the intense pull to honor and acknowledge REAL individuals into a voice that will impact more than the greeting card audience…but, oh, how we do feel so all filled up and complete when we find the language that speaks into the places that a person wonders if anyone can see. My muse and I surely do savor that!

    I’ve been having a chat with this favorite muse of mine…”Look. How do you turn that into a story? And into a book? Hellooooo…..?”

    So yeah. We’re still going the rounds on that question. I’ll beat it out of her if I have to…but then I wonder if she’ll ever speak to me again?

  7. My muse has been my stuffed gorilla, Norman. (

    Lately, it has been butterflies. So I wrote about this for twenty minutes, reversing the emotion, which led me to a story I never imagined being interested in. A butterfly that is not a butterfly? Who knows where it will take me.
    This is where the fun is in writing.
    With a mind, a heart, an imagination, and a soul, I can travel anywhere I want.
    What a joy!

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