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Monday, March 26, 2012

You! Yes, You! Amuse Me!


People have asked me how I can find something to write about every day.

Sometimes, I wonder that myself.

And that got me thinking.

Where does inspiration come from?

For me, it’s not the margaritas, the impressive genealogy (including farmers, a postal worker and a high school teacher) or the kissy-lipped face of concentration I’ve been known to adopt while writing.

No, my ideas start outside of myself, spurred by muses. And while “spurred by muses” sounds like something that could be taken care of with some sort of burning soap and a tiny-toothed comb, I’m glad I have them.

The thing that has surprised me most about discovering the concept of the muse is that anyone can be one.

Take T for instance.

T says things that make me think, make me look deeper. The following exchange has stayed with me for years:

Me: I just can’t believe Scott screwed me over like that! After I’ve gone above and beyond for him!


T: You know what the problem with the world is? There aren’t enough people doing stuff for Scott.

That comment inspired a story and helped me drop the attitude I had been working on.

And there are other muses! Take, for example, my friend Diana, who once suggested that I could pass for Canadian.

For some reason, that tickles me.

You can't buy stuff like that.

I think everyone has muses, but I’m not sure everyone sees them. It would be best, of course, if muses were easily identified, if they were required to, say, wear those shoes with the little bells on the toes, or present printed cards, little gold-embossed cards calling them out as licensed and bonded inspirers of creativity.

But maybe we just need to open our eyes to the fact that sometimes muses aren’t readily identifiable.

Sometimes, they look just like the people next to us.

58 comments:

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Or the blog next to us.

Simply Suthern said...

It helps to have muses. It also helps that you know how to spin the story to amuse us. Thanks

Teresa Evangeline said...

They're everywhere, they're everywhere! I do, however, like the image of little bells on their toes.

Eva Gallant said...

Shoe bells and business cards would make things so much simpler!

Shelly said...

Or sometimes like the sweet cats next to us. :)

Really a great post. I always love to hear how people get their writing inspirations, especially the terrific writers like you.

Bossy Betty said...

Thanks, Pearl! I am going through a bit of a dry spell here and this is just what I needed!

Pearl said...

I like to imagine that the people in my life -- many of whom are not actual physical presences but those of the bloggerly persuasion -- actually live in trees or under mushrooms, drive cars fueled by good attitudes and will someday drop by with dinner already made...

We've no actual proof otherwise. Delores lives in the mountains, I think, surrounded by clouds.

Simply divides his time between a beach and a BBQ pit...

Teresa lives in a meadow where brightly colored birds swoop in to perch on her shoulder...

Eva lives in a cottage covered with roses, and when she opens the windows the animals come nearer to hear her sing...

Shelly is surrounded by children, all talking at once, their fingerprints on her hem look like hearts...

Betty lives inside a flower and clings to stamens when the winds come, confident that the sun will be back...

jabblog said...

How right you are:-)

esbboston said...

".. that I could pass for Canadian" hahahahhahahahhhhaha

T e a r s in eyes fun-ny


I once spent a week in the middle of Sasquatchewan many moons ago, 360, so I am pretty sure there are at least 360 molecules, atoms, or maybe just down to that many Canadian electrons that are still part of me, Oh, Canada. At one time all my ground buffalo came from North Dakota, same thing, Canada. Its just a line, a thin thin line of separation. Plus I spelled Sasquatchewan wrong without even looking!

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Pearlie pearl pearl...was that your way of saying you think I'm an airhead lol. Not far off in that case.

Leenie said...

Crap, you found me. Now I'm going to have to find a different tree to live in. Just for that I'm not bringing by this leftover homemade mac and cheese.

Susan in the Boonies said...

Fog comes in on tiptoe.

Muses go incognito.

And I?

Ai yi yi.
I am the Frito bandito.

nagzilla said...

We totally have muses, if we allow ourselves to be open to them. What's amazing is when OTHER people see them. Yesterday I was in the midst of furiously writing something and a woman sharing the table with me said, "You have a writing partner, don't you?"
I chuckled and replied yes, but her next comment totally threw me.
"I can tell. I can't see it, but I can feel its energy."
How cool was that?!?

Laraine Eddington said...

A chance remark plus a propensity for drifting into what I like to call "dar-dar land" is all I need to fuel my blog.

terlee said...

Your comments on how you view people of the bloggerly persuasion were just as cool as the original post.

I think some of your muses are just plain hilarious: T and Mary, of course, the cats, the bus people. And you oould pass for Canadian? That cracked me up, eh?

The magic is that you DO recognize the muse...and lucky us, we get to read your stories.

Hookin It With Mr. Lick Lick said...

As much as I would love to be funny, it's just not in me. Why, I don't know. I have a hard time saying what I want to say. Usually what I do say or write comes out totally all wrong and people get po'd or give me crap for it. Thankfully there are people like you who 'see and say it like it is' for people like me who, even though they are educated, can't get it out right. :o)

Buttons said...

Your not Canadian? :( I am and you still make me laugh so it is OK :) B

jenny_o said...

Ha! You could give some people (me) all the muses in the world and they still couldn't write. I comfort myself with the fact that someone needs to READ all the great stuff others write - and you're high on that list, u betcha :)

Shelly said...

Loved, loved, loved your comment, Pearl-

Suldog said...

Indeed. Muses often do look like the people next to me, which is sort of a shame because that means I might be one of their muses, seeing as I'm next to them, and so that's why ice cream doesn't have any bones, but you do.

fishducky said...

My muse lives in my freezer--INSIDE the carton of chunky chocolate ice cream!!

Joanne said...

When I was little the stories were met with "quite an imagination!" Or, "you can't go anywhere without having an adventure." So, unless they were really real, I kept them to myself.

Laoch of Chicago said...

Responding in a tangential manner, I think being consistently amusing is quite hard. I think you do a fine job of it.

R. Jacob said...

I am starting to wonder where I live...3rd rock?

Douglas said...

Sometimes, they look just like the people next to us.

Scary thought...

But, yes, they are friends and acquaintances and sometimes just people in stores, on the street, or even the bus (though there are no buses here), There are many of them wandering about (aimlessly, I suspect) the golf courses I play on.

Dee said...

Dear Pearl, . . . a posting that made me think. I haven't met anyone with bells on their toes recently, but I have read a lot of blogs that inspire my own thoughts. A muse by any other name would be a gift. Peace.

Belle said...

What people say is one of my muses too. People can be so funny without meaning to be.

CarrieBoo said...

Do you have a lumberjack shirt, perhaps? I have to think you are the God of Muse.

Tom G. said...

You could totally pass for a Canadian.

Craver Vii said...

Aah, so THAT's why these people are walking around with those silly shoes with bells on their toes! Now that I know what it's all about, I'm gonna start paying attention.

Dawn @Lighten Up! said...

Crackheads make good muses. ;)
Do you know, as I was reading this, I was already listening to a song called "My Muse" by Sarah Jarosz? True fact!

Al Penwasser said...

It's really funny how sometimes an idea just comes right up and smacks you in the head, isn't it?
For instance, I heard some icthyo...ikthe..icthyuh...uh, FISH expert on NPR last week droning on and on about the majestic narhwales (which I call 'Narwhals'). It was a very serious discussion, but....still...wham!...'N' for the A-Z Challenge!
I like it when ideas come to me like that.
By, the way, I know a narwhal isn't a fish.
Or a kangaroo.
And you're not Canadian.

L-Kat said...

I agree! Once you start paying attention to people and events around you, ideas don't stop! Now, if only I could weed out the ones that are only amusing to me....

Amberr Meadows said...

I love this. Sometimes the muses do look like the people next to us, or as someone said near the top, like the blogs next to us. :-)

bill lisleman said...

Well written thoughts. It's like luck you do need to aware and know how to take advantage of it.
Back when I tanned better and was in Texas someone thought I was Mexican. I still don't exactly how I could use that but maybe I should ask J-Lo?

Rene Foran said...

My muses are drive by muses.
The don't put the kettle on, come out here in the driveway and
we'll just talk to you from the car window as the engine's idling variety.
I wish they'd stay,
but maybe it's just better this way.

Gigi said...

I loved this. AND the comments it inspired.

Yes, muses are all around. You just need to look around. And a notebook to record the thoughts they inspire. Otherwise, if you are me, you immediately forget.

Steve Bailey said...

You know I used to feel worried I might run out of topics to write about as well.... but that was before I discovered my other personalities!! They always have something to say. Thank you multiple personality disorder!! Thank you!!

klahanie said...

Hey Pearl,
Yes, I know, you've been thinking, 'Gosh, I haven't had a much loved, award winning, highly sought after comment from that Gary fella'. Yes that confused Canadian eh who lives in England and does the occasional, not really worth reading, posting on observational humour (humor) on life in lil' ol' England.
Pearl, seriously, muses are good and some have the knack to amuse with a muse. You, my lovely friend, do this extremely well. And cause I'm in such a good mood, I'm making you an honorary Canadian and shall forward you a Vancouver Canucks hockey shirt, some 'puncakes', complete with genuine Canadian maple syrup. Or something like that :) Take off eh and happy writing.
Your starstruck adoring fan who sometimes does run-on, incoherent ramblings in his comments that make you wonder if his comment or run-on sentence, for that matter, will ever end. And with that and for no apparent reason, this comment will abruptly end! :)

Jo-Anne's Rambling said...

I will often read something on someones blog and think that would make a great topic for a bog post so I often find inspiration from other bloggers

HermanTurnip said...

What I do is write down random words onto scraps of paper, drop the scraps of paper into a hat, then I wear the hat into the shower and sing jazz folk tunes through an elaborate system of microphones, pvc piping, and cow bells until the neighbors call the police.

It's as simple as that.

Roshni said...

well said, Pearl...but I still don't know how you do it!! :D

NotesFromAbroad said...

My muse packed her bags and left, she didn't even say goodbye.
Well, she did leave some old stretched out tee shirts and a pair of worn out ballet flats, she had been muttering for a while about leaving .. she wanted to live in a house in the woods. The city life had gotten to her.
I think I know where she went.
I might follow her.
love

Gene Pool Diva said...

I love people, I find them fascinating and I never forget a good line. Maybe it comes from being the shy kid, Dunno, but I'm a fabulous eaves dropper.

Crystal Pistol said...

Great post! Tender. I've been studying the art of mindfulness and meditation as of late. Every moment is a story to be relished. Every person is a being to be revered.

Symdaddy said...

The History of A Pearl

Long ago, on a planet far, far away. In a distant part of our galaxy there was a man called Norman.

No, no! He might have been called Fred...or Malcolm, erm...

Anyway, this man ... or was it a Romulan? ... he had a ... no, wait he rented a Winnebago ... or did he buy it? I forget. He, or was it her, travelled through space and time and things happened. Before you knew it BINGO! There was Pearl!

And she's still, to this very day, stealing all of my best ideas!

You don't really believe she has cats, do you?

River said...

I see the muses but I'm unable to spin the stories...the writer isn't in me.

Glen said...

we are all the same - everywhere we go, everything we see is one big blog post in potentia -- it's just you are better at translating it :)

Catherine said...

Sometimes real life is way more inspirational and funnier than anything anyone can write. Looks like you are able to put the words to it perfectly!

And if you can pass for a Canadian ~ I would take that as a compliment! ;) LOL!

Thank you for visiting my blog the other day.

Love from Saskatchewan, Canada! :D
Catherine

the walking man said...

*shrug* I don't bother them and they don't bother me. Those muses are just as well armed as I am.

Jenn Jilks said...

I have muses all over the world!

COmforting, heartwarming people who keep me going!
Well said!
/Canadian

ThreeOldKeys said...

Spurred by Moses, huh? How very old testament.

wait, what? oh, my eyes are getting pretty bad.

Spurned by Moses, huh?

Pat said...

My muses are often conspicuous by their absence. I still think it's pretty wonderful that you post every day.

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

You're right, Pearl: we have muses all over the place who take us by surprise at times. I find inspiration by listening and observing those around me (makes some of my neighbors really nervous), remembering the past and all manner of people I've known and, of course, reading inspiring blogs, especially those like yours that always make me smile.

The Vegetable Assassin said...

See, for me, Pearl, it is ALWAYS all about the margaritas....maybe that's where I'm going wrong.

Jocelyn said...

...or they look like the person UNDER us.

*ba-do-boom*

I really need a traveling rimshot machine.

Anyhoodle, point well taken. I so respect the way you see the story in everything and one.

Raymond Alexander Kukkee said...

Pearl, I think you are already Canadian. Minnesota is the secret training ground for humorous Canadians, it's how you get really funny. Your training is coming along just fine, -- you must have graduated last year already.. ":)

Pat Tillett said...

Great post Pearl. I swear, I get inspiration from everywhere. I must have at least a hundred posts in draft with not much more than a title and a thought in them. That's where my problems starts. I can't concentrate enough it seems to follow up on them all. How you do it everyday is amazing! Ergo, you are amazing...