John "The Gneech" Robey (the_gneech) wrote,
John "The Gneech" Robey

She Who Must Be Obeyed

No, not laurie_robey, who is graciousness itself. The title here refers to my muse (traditionally female, although with mine I'm not sure), who is imperious to a fault.

You see, when my muse decides it's time for me to work on something, it's time for me to work on it -- and my muse will brook no refusal. I can pretend to work on other things, like my job or eating breakfast, but that's not what I'm really doing. About 10-15% of my mind will be on the task at hand, and the rest will be working on my muse's current pet project. If I can't actually work on it (because it's at home and I'm at my job, for instance), that 85-90% of my brain will do what it can, but if it gets to the point where thinking is no longer any use and doing is required (which usually happens pretty quickly), it just goes around and around in circles, getting more and more frustrated and unhappy, until I end up like Robbie the Robot in Forbidden Planet burning up his own brains in an unresolvable loop.

So, for my own health and sanity, I try to indulge my muse whenever I can. The problem is, my muse's eyes are too big for her (his? its?) stomach, to really torture a metaphor. She tells me to do these enormous projects that I would love to be able to do, and doesn't care about the fact that she's already got me committed to three other enormous projects that she demanded I start. "Well do those, too!" is her response when I bring this up. Conversely, "Pfft! Yeah, right!" is her response when I bring up things like, "I need to eat and pay the bills," or "I need to mow the lawn / do the laundry / visit my rapidly-aging parents from time to time."

So basically, my muse is a demanding little punk.

In some ways, this can be a good thing. Certainly it's led me to produce a lot of work, in the form of a handful of novels and nine years' worth of comic strips. And if I could shoehorn my muse into demanding I do something that would actually pay I'd have a brilliant career ahead of me. This is one reason why I'm putting SJ on hold when the time comes, so I can try, now that I'm a good enough writer to pull it off, to write some novels to sell.

It's not that my muse is averse to making money, like some unsullied artiste of cliché. My muse simply doesn't care about it one way or the other. "Oh, that's all left-brain stuff," it says. "Now about those guitar lessons..."


Anyway, the reason I bring this up is because I've been talking a lot lately about how I don't have time. And I don't. I mean, I have the same 24 hours every day that everybody else does, yes. But I also have this demanding little punk inhabiting my head, who has my brain by the tender parts and gives me the choice of dancing to its tune, or going insane. Sometimes, just to amuse itself as much as anything I suspect, it makes me go insane anyway -- but usually it will hold off as long as it gets what it wants.

Really, this is the difference between "artists" and "non-artists," I suppose. I often get wistful comments along the lines of, "Oh, I wish I could write," or "Oh, I wish I could draw." Usually I just smile and nod and perhaps make some comment about practice. But usually what I'm thinking is, "Be glad you can't!" Because the only reason I've got what skill I've got in those areas, is because the demanding little punk inside my brain wouldn't let me sleep until I worked on it.

People who aren't artist types have an amazing freedom that frankly I envy, sometimes.

-The Gneech
Tags: writing
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