A student in Sixth Period today asked a great question. He asked, in response to hearing the details of this assignment, what my muse was. I had to think about that. What inspires or, to a lesser degree, compels me to write? The unfortunate truth, nowadays, is deadlines.
I have always enjoyed writing. I don’t know why. I was not even an avid reader until after college. But even in elementary school I remember writing stories. I wrote a “news” story about Nolan Ryan pitching a no-hitter for my third-grade school “paper.” I wrote lots of notes in middle and high school (there were no computers or cell phones). The only class I really remember from high school was the time Mrs. Haley took us outside and told us to find a quiet spot in the woods, focus on a spot on the ground and write. The only times I remember voluntarily staying after school in high school was to edit the school paper.
In college I dabbled in poetry and short stories (one of my favorite classes was Creative Writing) and kept a daily journal during my six-week-long cross-country trip immediately following graduation. Then I worked at a few different newspapers for seven years and produced a lot of copy but stopped writing for enjoyment. Not until I had to take a Writing course for my graduate program (for which I am currently taking my last class) was I forced to write creatively again. That class, not surprisingly, was my favorite of the program and prompted me to bring to fruition an idea for a short story I’d had for some time; that short story, “Factory Frogs,” is on this blog; you could find it if you’re interested.
But nowadays I only write, it seems, when I have to. Because I can’t find – or I don’t make – the time. I wake up early to read, get ready, get the kids ready, go to school, work, plan, grade, come home or go to grad class, help with dinner, clean up, hang out for a little bit, put the kids to bed, once a week play soccer, do more work, go to bed. Who has time to write?
My answer to Noah today in class was, “A good night’s sleep and a cup of really strong coffee.” But that’s not really true. Those are ideal conditions for me to write. Like Sunday morning, when I was writing my research paper. But, no, I just like to write. I think, rather, my muse is the language. I think it’s the Word.