Interview with the Muse

         Muse: A blog post Laura, that’s all it is. It’s not like this is the beginning of a book

Me: But it might be

Muse: Let that go and just talk to me. You still have so much middle school language arts teacher in you. She retired, remember? Tell me about when you started writing.

Me: Ok. At the beginning of the last two years of my 30 year teaching gig I started writing snippets, little anecdotes of what was going on in my class. Like we as teachers say we’re going to. This gig was so sweet. Little kids, a garden, animals in cages all around the room, experiments. Total fun. I told people I was playing with angels in the garden of Eden. After years of upper elementary and middle school language arts. It was my reward. So I think, I’ll retire and write about my teaching career. I did, and I have the rejection slips to prove it.

Muse: Remember your first years of teaching? A few “rejections slips” there too.

Me:  Don’t remind me. I had no clue what I was doing. Kinda like stringing pieces of what I thought might work together.

Muse: So when was that …a few years ago?

Me: Nah, more like 17…and I still just feel like I’m practicing.

Muse: Welcome to Life.

Me: It’s not quite what I visualized. There’s no book from those stories and Oprah hasn’t called yet. But I have a closet full of journals chronicling the ins and out of midlife and beyond. (ed. note: At this point I was going to insert a picture of my closet full of journals, but I can’t make my new phone talk to my old computer. Maybe when I meet up with my friend Melissa, half my age and a gazillion times more tech savvy)

Muse: Ok. 17 years. Midlife. Is that what you write about?

Me: Well yeah. My only child died. Suicide. Two-and-a half years after I retired. People tell you to go back to what you were doing before. To move on. But I was shuffling papers with a dream of writing a book and filling journals. And in time I tried again. Fashioning my journal pages into a book, not of sweet school stories, but of the grief journey I was recording. And this time I self-published.

Muse: How did that go for you?

Me: It was interesting. I had a book. With my name on the front. It wasn’t the way I envisioned it. My friends and family bought copies. And it was cathartic.

Muse: How so?

Me: I was learning a lot about myself and the world around me. Reflecting.

Muse: And that’s what you want to write about now?

Me: It’s what I have been writing about and it’s what I want to share. that’s the scary part for me. I’m most brave in my notebook.

Muse: So the blog?

Me: Well, I thought it might help me transition…

Muse: Stop right there. Say it like you mean it, not like you’re apologizing..

Me: Gulp. Yes m’am. I’m who I am today because I have filled a closet full of notebooks with writing practice. And I want you to know that. I want you to know the struggle it was to continue living and facing the shame of losing my only child. Yes, shame. The blame I put on myself. I was his mother. I should have known more. I couldn’t get those thoughts out of my head.

Muse: Did you talk to anyone?

Me: Not really. Not the way I needed to. I was too ashamed. Too scared. And because at that time I was writing daily, journaling, I let it loose in my notebook. It was like I’m doing now, by pretending I’m talking to my Muse, letting you draw out my timid voice.

Muse: Why is this voice so timid?

Me: Words can be so powerful. I know some of the ways I’ve misused their power and I want to be more mindful of how I use them now.

Muse: So what’s your plan?

Me: Right now I’m relying on my local writing group and my long distance writing friend Taj. I set an intention with them to have this blog up and running and my local group meets tonight. I’m running out of time trying to get the words right. It’s time to just push the publish button. Gulp.

Writing Topic: Do you have a Muse? Who is she/he/it?