"Had I the heaven' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams."
Aedh Wishes For The Cloths Of Heaven by William Butler Yeats
As you know, I'm an old poetry nerd. Poetry has depth and soul, and I enjoy having a meeting of the minds with a person from the distant past. This poem is one of my favorites. Yeats loved a woman named Maud Gonne. She was a fiery, beautiful actress/ feminist/ Irish revolutionary, and though Yeats asked her to marry him a total of four times throughout the decades they knew each other, she refused each offer. It's said that Yeats spoke of Maud when he penned those immortal lines, "I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams." I don't know about you, but if Yeats had written that poem for me, I would have grabbed him by the lapels and kissed him hard on the mouth. Love, love, love Yeats. His dreams sustained him.
Writers are dreamers. Funny enough, as I was sleeping last night, I found myself sitting in my living room and wondering why I write in the genre I do. My teenage daughter walks in, looking excited, and says, "Mom, so and so from such and such agency wants to represent you. They have a publisher all lined up!" I remember feeling elated for a few seconds before saying aloud, "This is a dream, right?" I woke up immediately after making that remark.
I thought this was funny. It made me laugh at myself. Obviously, I worry way too much about publishing success. I take that aspect of writing as a sign of vindication, as a means of showing those who have overlooked and underestimated me that I have merit in spite of what they think. I'm weaving psychological need into my writing and that tangles with my enjoyment of the craft. Whatever happened to just finding joy in doing something you love?This is a picture of my youngest. He is one of the happiest people I know. As you can see, he lives in the moment. "Who cares about pants? I'm Darth Vader!" Mr. Man doesn't worry about stuff that doesn't matter. He dreams up wonderful, entertaining stories with his action figures. Complete with motivated characters, tense plot lines, and funny voices. We should all be more like him. (Although, I do recommend wearing pants.)
This is my muse Daniel Craig comforting me and saying, "Your story doesn't suck, love. Stop saying it does."
This is the angry Daniel muse. He doesn't like being ignored. When he tells you to write down that new idea, do it. Quickly.
In this picture, I've just told Dan about a plot twist I came up with. His expression really says it all, doesn't it? Usually when he looks this way, he crosses his ankles, sighs, and squints up at the heavens. I know what's going on behind those cool, blue eyes. He's thinking, "Why? Out of all the writers in the world, why do I have this one?"
(Disclaimer! My husband is far more inspiring than Daniel, but he works a lot so I had to find someone else to stand in as my muse...)
Fellow writers, I hope we can remember the dreams we had when we first started making up stories and focus on the joy of creating something good. What does your muse look like? Tell me about him or her.