Stephen King’s Basement

Dover Castle, Kent

Stephen King talks about  inspiration:

There is a muse, but he’s not going to come fluttering down into your writing room and scatter creative fairy-dust …He lives in the ground. He’s a basement guy. You have to descend to his level… You have to do all the grunt labor… while the muse sits and smokes cigars and admires his bowling trophies and pretends to ignore you….[But] he’s got the inspiration…[He’s got] the bag of magic. There’s stuff in there that can change your life. Believe me. I know. ( Stephen King, On Writing, Scribner, 2000, p. 144,145)

Before I go to sleep, at night, I don’t talk to a cigar smoking guy in the basement. He’s not mine. He belongs to Stephen King.

I talk to the ladies.  Wearing sexy, black lace lingerie held together with red ribbons they listen to me. There are at least three of them and more in the background, and they look like they came out of a saloon on Gunsmoke. They have long, dark  curly hair pulled up into loose buns, with tendrils falling down, and wise eyes. Why are they ladies? Why do they look like that? Who knows. I tell them what I have to figure out for my story, and they  surprise me in the morning.

The power of the subconscious fascinates me. I’m trying to not analyze it. I tell myself that it doesn’t matter if I understand the creative process as long as it works.

My thoughts on craft for this Monday morning.

What’s in your basement?

My Muse Drools


Reflections on my week of writing:

  • Time slips through my fingers like water. I struggle to hold onto it, but I can’t.
  • Word Count: I’m coming up to the half way point, rounding the corner, looking up at the twisted path to the Dark Moment and trembling in my slippers. Pushing the first draft through is like dragging a jagged rock up a hill side, mottled with sneaky pits of quicksand. Don’t get me wrong, I love writing. But I struggle with the process and uncertainty of it all.
  • Social Media: Is the seduction of SM hurting, or helping my writing? Time will tell.
  • Research: This week, I learned, “stiletto” is an Italian word for a small metal dagger. (Who knew?)
  • Gripe: Using”text” as a verb sucks. It’s necessary for plot but hits the ear like shards of shattered glass. As in: He texted, “I love you.” (Uggh.)   or… His text read: “I love you.” (Better, but I don’t like to hang out in the past tense.) I swear, “text” is a noun that the gods, of all that is right in writing, never meant to be mangled into a verb. Couldn’t we change it to something easier on the ear like cybered?

Chester: My muse is a hundred pound, drooling Chesapeake Bay Retriever named Chester. My husband could time the steaks on the barby by the length of his drool which hung down both sides of his mouth. Three inches was about right for a medium rare, Costco tenderloin. He was at peace with his drool. I’m sure he knew it wasn’t his most appealing feature, but he shared it anyways. His  favourite spot for rubbing it was on my skirts. He had a thing about dresses.There were  many  mornings he chased me around the house while I screamed, “Nooo Chester, Nooo…”   Chessie drool smells foul. Believe me, once you’re  marked by a Chesapeake, the world knows you have a big  hound dog in your life. That or a sewer.

So why is Chester my muse? I could tell Chester anything. He was a devoted  listener. He made me believe that anything I said was a pearl of wisdom dropping from heaven. His soulful eyes looked at me with a depth of love that touched my soul.  I would tell him the secrets of my heart and read him my writing. He listened to it all. It was like he understood me. And no matter what I said or did, he loved me. He saw the family through many of life’s speed bumps, and was like an anchor in our stormy world. What more could I want from a muse?

Chester passed on to doggy heaven last spring, but he will be forever the best dog I ever had – and my muse.

So…my muse drools. What does yours do?