The Right to Write: Invite the Muse to Tea (book club)

tea mugs

My muse is not happy with me.

She has caught wind of all the niceties Julia Cameron lavishes on her writer-self to care for Inspiration. In our reading of The Right to Write this week, Cameron reveals the wooing:

I explain…that I take my writer out for treats, that I buy it expensive coffee concoctions with foam like clouds. I take my writer on train rides to write and admire the view. I buy my writer journals, race-along-pens, an embroidered writing chair that I place by the window with good light. I try not to bully my writer or attack it. I try not to make it write only “should” without also writing “want-tos”. My writer has learned to trust me, to enjoy my company, and to treat me well back.

What about me? Muse asks, petulantly. All you’ve ever given me is sleep deprivation.

I had no idea, I tell her. I had no idea this was part of it all.

But this is not entirely true. Haven’t I felt the romance? Don’t I know how writing seduces? I know this love affair with words must be nurtured and fed just as sure as any relationship. But like a pampered lover, I wait for Muse to come to me. And then I wonder why she sometimes does not show up. I am like Cameron’s young friend Regine who wants to be ravaged, swept away, “taken” by her writing.

Cameron says:

I do understand. Sometimes my writing takes me like a fevered lover … More often, my writing and I meet halfway like a couple who wants to make love amid a busy week and don’t know quite how to get started… I have been encouraging Regine to invite her creative pregnancies, to pay attention to her stirrings, to invite the Muse to tea at regular hours to see if her writing can become a little less mysterious and more matter-of-fact.

Invite the Muse to tea? Really?

I like café au lait, she says. Or maybe one of those pumpkin spice lattes.

We sit by the window and sip our creamy café from heavy mugs. Something about the way the light moves through the glass brings to mind a childhood memory. It feels so close, so real, that I feel tears begin at the edge of my eyes. She reaches over and touches my hand.

Thank you, I say.

You are most welcome.

She grins. And I can’t help noticing the faint mustache of froth on her upper lip.

In our book club discussion this week, Julia Cameron talks about nurturing our writer, writing as appetite, how mood plays into this writing life, and the importance of keeping the drama on the page.

What spoke to you this week? Come share in the discussion, we’d love to hear your thoughts.

Three more chapters next week: The Wall of Infamy, Valuing our Experience, and Specificity.

Image by Ginny. Sourced via Flickr. Used with permission.