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Muses, British Big Brother and the Mysteries of Technology

Categories: This Writer's Life.
Let me begin with a confession and an indisputable fact.

Confession: I am bad with technology. I know this is not a startling confession, like admitting that, until I was 14, I slept with the lights on in my room (also true). My point in telling you this is to beg for your patience with me as I sort out exactly how to work this blog and figure out how to read everyone’s email addresses, so I can respond promptly to questions and comments, which leads me to my indisputable fact.

Fact: Right now I happen to be in an Internet Cafe in Belfast, Northern Ireland. For those of you who don’t know, I am one month into a three and a half month travel writing/self discovery tour of much of Western and Eastern Europe for which I took a semester off from my MFA program and begged my credit card company to up my spending limit. One of my friends from home, Casey Hurley (oft referred to as The Big Cat because he’s more or less a giant), quit his job with the Dept of Defense and agreed to accompany me on the journey, in exchange for ‘walking around money’ and an agreement that I wouldn’t ‘publicly ruin his chances of getting another job’. We’ve kept a pseudo-travel blog of our trip and subsequent quest for self-discovery, the likes of which can be found on the blogroll (to the left) if you have any interest in hearing inaccurate biased critiques of major European cities and embarrassing facts about myself, which Case delights in revealing. I also swear, which–when used effectively– can be awesome.

Anyway, I apologize if you’ve heard all of that before, but my main point in telling you about the trip is that–from a writing standpoint– I had very real expectations for this trip that have now changed somewhat significantly.

When I first envisioned this trip, I imagined that it would greatly enhance my magazine journalism career by adding travel writing to my resume. I pretty much thought I’d be writing stories while doing active, extreme things like dog sledding in Finland and base jumping off the Space Needle in Bratislava, Slovakia. But it turns out, they don’t even have a space needle. And I would never go base jumping.

So in reality, I’ve spent much less time working on magazine story ideas (As of this writing, I have one solid story idea, which someone is probably in the midst of pitching right…now) and working on my novel and writing a short story about going on a date with a former reality star in Zurich, Switzerland. Perhaps it’s the sheer quantity of contemplative (moody?) people sitting in cafes, or maybe, more realistically, its the fact that I don’t speak any other languages and, thusly, am terrified to make eye contact that have propelled me to work on fiction, but either way this reveals an undeniable truth: with writing, you really have no choice but to go where your fickle, slightly overweight Muse takes you. And for whatever reason, my Muse is forcing me to spend an inordinate amount of time sorting out what it’d be like to go on a date with a former reality star. So I guess my point is that while it’s good and productive to set goals and have expectations for your writing, you never know what the hell is going to pop into your mind, and you just have to be willing to tell yourself that it’s okay to see where that goes. And if that means that you’re forced to watch a sh*t ton of the British version of Celebrity Big Brother while eating a family-size package of Kit Kats in the name of research, remember, it’s not you. It’s your Muse.

KA

ps- thanks everyone for writing in with your support, questions and requests for pantless pics. And if you did pose a question, I’m not ignoring you. I’m not even kind of avoiding you. I’m just incompetent in sorting out people’s email addresses with the NOSPAM thing inserted. But I’m learning things very, very quickly and I will be sure and get back to you as soon as possible. I just need to see if this chick gets kicked out of the Big Brother House, because she’s being ridiculously unreasonable, plus I think she hooked up with that guy Matt (or maybe Chris) strictly for personal gain:)

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9 Responses to Muses, British Big Brother and the Mysteries of Technology

  1. Lorri says:

    Love that about not having a choice about what you write. In a piece I wrote recently about writing (if you can write about writing, can you live about living? Does that have anything to do with Ayn Rand’s line, “The art of writing is the art of doing what you think you’re doing.” ? But I digress . . .) I said, "I sign up for a feature writing class to make my writing more marketable, but I’m afraid of the phone and never get around to interviewing anyone. Besides, I’m on this roller coaster for one reason only—love—and I know deep down that I’m only going to write what I want to write. I drop the class."

    But now I realize that I was giving myself too much credit (blaming myself needlessly?). It’s not me who’s to blame for wasting the money on that class, it’s my muse.

    Thanks for the great blog; I love it, and I love you! (Don’t get too excited; I also love Ichiro, Dave Matthews, and James Salter. “Who ever knows what our hearts will want? Who can defend themselves from it?” And yes, I’m a shameless collector of other people’s words . . .)

  2. John says:

    I discovered myself when I was 13 and my life has been he77 ever since. Get on a plane and come home. Quick. Before it’s too late!

  3. Cindy says:

    Isn’t self discovery a little overrated?

    Love your blog. :)

  4. Carma D. says:

    Second time. This post did not send.

    I wanted to say everyone needs a little humor.

    As for me I cannot think and write at the same time.

  5. Aloha from a writer in Hawaii,
    I do think it’s true that angst can greatly benefit writers.
    Discomfort and loneliness also.
    And muses.
    They are greatly variable.
    I have 2 small furry ones who require feeding. They are amazingly unreliable.
    I will be interested to hear of your adventures.

  6. Cybez says:

    Hope you’ve a good time in Northern Ireland :-)

  7. You crack me up beyond belief…somewhere between LOL and ROTFLOL!

    Peace,
    Paula
    cpmooney@aol.com
    http://paulamooney.blogspot.com

  8. Christine says:

    I started my writing blog so that I’d finish my novel — this week finds me writing less and surfing the internet more. I have developed an obsession with blog rolls (directories) and figuring out ways to drive visitors to my site. That being said, I am very glad I stumbled onto your site and have signed up for regular updates. I look forward to reading more about where your fickle, slightly overweight takes you.

  9. I think I too am beginning to despise technology (although that’s what my major is) because when I posted on your first entry, it flat out refused to post it, even though it send it posted. Darn technology!
    Anyway, your trip sounds super fun and I’m jealous. And thank you for the new excuse, "it’s not me, it’s my muse!" Love it. :)

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