Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How I took my muse on a mini vacation

The kids have been driving me stark raving mad. It's understandable, I suppose. End of the school year, summer on the horizon, naturally they would be hyped up. What do you do though, when you're a stay at home writer mom and you work where you live? My muse was threatening to go on strike. I was catching a bad case of writer's block and they don't have a cure for that yet. No spoon full of inspiration to get the creative juices flowing again. I was desperate.

I couldn't do what I normally do when I'm blocked and switch to a different project before the infection spreads to every artistic cell in my brain. I have a deadline I set for myself to have this particular book done and it wasn't even fully plotted yet. In such dire circumstances, what is a writer mama to do? Run away. Those two words were my salvation.

It's not really as bad as it sounds. I did not abandon my husband and six kids...well, not for long anyway. I just needed to stay away long enough to regain my sanity and pamper my muse. So I packed a bag for myself and Jolie Pethtel, my alter ego for the Jezebel Jinx mysteries or rather they'll only be mysteries plural if I get this second book done. Otherwise Jezebel will make her solitary debut in September and who knows when she'll be heard from again.

Just so you don't think I'm a split personality, I write under two different names because I have a Young Adult series that I'm writing under my legal name with my daughter Scarlett. The young adult well never runs dry because I have a teenager at home who tells me the most interesting stories about high school, which I then spin into something she at least finds positively brilliant. I'm hoping other teenagers agree. But this isn't about Billi's books. This is about poor Jolie and her inability to function in such chaos. She writes about adult situations...is murder an adult situation? Well, let's just say her stories are fun, but you won't find many kids galloping through the pages. She really needed the break and so did our muse. We have a time share arrangement, our muse and us or is that we? Maybe I do have a split personality.

Soooo, I packed a bag. Luckily, Jolie and I wear the same size. A mighty fine coincidence, don't you think? Now what happened next scared my husband more than a little bit, but we all have to face our demons sometime and it was his turn to put up or shut up. He bought me a pizza, then loaded up my bag and my laptop into the minivan. For once all the seats weren't taken and no one was yelling about who hit who. It was incredibly peaceful. Even the weather was cooperating with my creative goals. It was a dark and stormy night... what could be better for plotting a murder mystery?

Next we arrive at the hotel. It isn't a big fancy place, but it has everything I require. A comfy bed, a television, eletricity, air conditioning and of the most critical importance...wireless internet. No, I didn't want to play yoville or update my face book status. I needed to do research. Just the usual, how to posion people in such a way they experience a horrifyingly original and entertaining death or in the case of survivors, how to prevent a horrifyingly original and entertaining death. Yeah, fellow writers, I know that was repetitive. So I had everything I needed or did I?

My loving son forgot to pack the charge chord to my laptop. I wouldn't get far without my computer. Was it a last ditch attempt to stop me from jumping ship? If so, it was destined to fail. I chose my course and I had to stay on it no matter what. So I settled down and with a clear concience, ate some pizza and watched a bit of the Harry Potter marathon while I waited for my devoted husband to run home and fetch the charger for me.

This is the pampered mom segment of my mini vacation. Just me, myself and Jolie. I'm not sure if my muse was there yet because well...she's invisible. I only know she's there when inspiration strikes or doesn't, as the case may be. Moving on, my hubby did come back, but he brought children with him. It was terrifying, I have to tell you. No, not really, but it was not really conductive to my evil plotting ends to have them there at that particular time. Thankfully they weren't staying or my book would have died before the first character.

There were hugs and assurances that I would indeed return, then I sent them on their merry way. Well, not quite merry. My husband had a look in his eye like a man condemned to Hell, but hey we all have to make sacrifices in this life and he was mine.

I'd like to say I plotted like a madwoman, but truthfully I'm more of a pantser, although in this case I was determined to plot or die trying...well maybe just take a nap. It was tempting really. I never get to sleep alone anymore and for those of you with children, you know sleeping alone isn't always a bad thing. I was determined to make the most of my one day hotel stay, so I surfed the web a bit. I even invented a cool widget for my website. Neither are finished yet, the widget or the web site, but really that's not why I was here.

Truthfully, my muse was more into Harry Potter than helping me write my book, so I watched the first three installments, until my husband called to see how much progress I'd made. He wasn't surprised I hadn't accomplished anything which made me more determined than ever to jump start my muse. At this point, the most magnifiscent thing happened. The storm worsened.

Thunder rolled, lightning struck and the heaven's opened pouring down pure inspiration. Okay, that was probably over the top, but you get my drift. I plotted. I don't know everything yet. Sometimes, not even I know the end. I usually work  backwards rather than forward, but Jolie prefers to be surprised. I do have a stable of suspects and victims and best of all...a premise.

I was up late...we write best at night and the best part is I got to skip the whole tedious get the cranky kids up for school nightmare. When my husband, who survived the night,came to pick me up he was almost kid free. The others were already safely escorted to school, having also survived a night without mom, leaving only my four year old to shower me with affection. My husband couldn't return the room key to the front desk fast enough. It's nice to know I was missed, but next time...oh yeah there's gonna be a next time; my muse, Jolie and I may take an entire weekend.