On Writing: Gifts from the Muses

When I begin to get immersed in a creating a book, whether by writing or simply by working it out in my mind, I look twice at everything that comes my way, wondering if it is a gift from the muses.

Today I received a begging letter from The Nature Conservancy, which described the Karner blue butterfly, and what they are doing to preserve it. I tossed the letter into the trash, then immediately fished it out. I’m familiar with blue wasps, and recently I saw a huge blue bee, but I had never seen a blue butterfly, and the thought captured my imagination.

I could see it, a scene in my new novel — a savannah of blue lupines, clouds of blue butterflies, a swarm of blue bees, a few blue wasps daubing in the mud. My characters would be filled with awe as they made their way through the blue, but it would be so strange that they would also be fearful.

Of course, like all gods and goddesses, the muses are fickle and love to play tricks on us humans. I wouldn’t be surprised if by the time I finished writing my book and got it published, blue would have been done to death. The nine muses will be out there somewhere in the great blue yonder, laughing at me and my gullibility in thinking I was original.

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