The Excruciating Wait Between Ideas
The idea for my first book came when I was twelve listening to how my grandmother’s family lost their wealth in Cuba due to a fire. My grandmother is legendary for her sadistic abuse of my father, but I felt this was an interesting story and could explain her brutality. Nothing took shape for years because I just didn’t know how to begin. Then when I was ready, I didn’t know how to develop characters.
I sat in meditation until a name came to me: Neptuna. Who would be named this? Then like a rustle of sheets, she whispered her story to me. I think I wrote for twelve hours straight before my dog realized she missed dinner and did her feed me tap dance. Inocencia came next as did the fictional Caribbean island. For five years I wrote about all this consumed by a territorial muse who did not want me to stray.
It didn’t get published and I fell into a tantrum. A psychic said my second book would be the breakthrough. I stalled. How much rejection can a chick take, I wondered not ready for another big commitment. A few ideas came, but I tired of them quickly: a short story collection about girls with the same name residing in Miami, a collection of essays on my dysfunctional family and finally a book of lucid dreams. I rejected all of them.
People say ideas come when you least expect them. I scoffed at the notion. Nothing comes unless you work your bum off for it. I started living and had some adventures. I was thinking of one adventure when I started questioning what would happen if a hurricane came. Both of my books deal with the aftermath of hurricanes. I guess Hurricane Andrew could be a phantom in my brain.
A man of all things became my muse. I’m not exactly a reverse chauvinist, but it took me a few years to realize men have feelings outside of destruction and anger. Not particularly a reader himself and the only blonde I have ever been attracted to (besides my beloved David Beckham), I suddenly saw my muse as an intriguing riddle with layers of subtext and nihilism. I began writing and writing. I can’t spend hours on my new project which is the way it goes when I have hours of luxury during the summer and none during the year. I had waited for over a year to be inspired. The wait was worth it.
An added bonus is not naming my muse and letting people think it is really them. One of my female friends asked if she was the inspiration. When I explained it was an actual man, not one I know very well at all. She winked and asked again if it was her. If I ever found out I was someone’s muse, I would dissolve into molecules of happiness. Some of the minor characters are from my life, but they are only mentioned in the first ten pages fleetingly. Not enough for anyone to feel flattered or annoyed. My muse is clueless about my doings. I admit it is a strange compliment to be someone’s Gala.
For those feeling uninspired, stop looking. Just go out there and let the universe drag you in a million directions. Don’t sit at home fighting the wait. You can’t win against creativity. It enslaves you on its clock, not yours.