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who-lives-in-your-attic

Stephen King once said his muse was a guy who lived in the basement and smoked cigars. Well, I think my muse, or maybe I should say muses, live in the attic of my skull, because they’re always running around shouting at me at the most inconvenient times.

Currently, I have 12 disciples and Jesus living in my cranial attic, and they’ve been keeping me awake a lot recently. I know . . . you’re wondering why these particular characters are residing in my head. It’s because my husband and I are writing and directing an Easter play centered around the last Passover supper Jesus had with his disciples. We’re condensing Judas’ betrayal, the Seder meal, and part of the events at the Garden of Gethsemane into a thirty minute drama. And we’re trying to do it in a seamless fashion that won’t require blackouts between scenes. Not sure that’s going to work, though. Especially after the conversation Jesus and the disciples had with me.

We’d been working on the script for some time, but something wasn’t gelling to my satisfaction, and I couldn’t put my finger on it. But with the calendar eating the days, we didn’t want to wait any longer to get the script to the actors. So, we had a meeting with them a few Sundays back after church, and we gave them what we’d prepared.

Then the voices started mumbling. “We could do this, or this,” they said. “Maybe you should put some more props on the table.” “Are you sure the audience will make that leap with you?” they asked. “I think you missed something,” they whispered. While I twisted and turned in the bed, for four long hours, they kept nagging me.

I hate when you think something is complete only to discover it’s not. It’s really annoying, and those 13 characters in my head were not making things any better. When I finally came up with a solution they started celebrating. There was no sleeping after that.

So, at 4 a.m., on a Sunday night, I tried to sneak out of bed, without jiggling the mattress and disturb my husband, and get my ideas onto paper before they vanished. My feet hadn’t even hit the floor when he said in a very not-asleep-voice, “Are you awake?” Apparently, he’d been wrestling with the rehearsal schedule. So, we got up, put on our bathrobes, and sat at the kitchen bar counter working out the issues that had been bugging us. After about an hour, we had resolved our problems enough we could both go to sleep.

As a writer, I live with voices in my attic most of the time. And when they start poking at me, it’s hard to do anything except listen to them, get their thoughts on paper, and hope they’ll shut up long enough so I can get some rest. Because if they don’t insomnia will ruin my health and drive me nuts. And the Lord knows I’m ditzy enough. Just ask my husband and our best friends.

What about you? Where do your muses live and how do they annoy you?

 

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