TokelosheI suppose I should firstly apologize to my Christian/Muslim/Buddhist friends for calling my muse a G.D. muse. I have graciously abbreviated the G.D. for their sake, but that’s exactly what my muse is. I hate to upset the religious and easily-offended with my writing, but I pretty much do exactly that whenever I write. Local writing competition judges usually eliminate my work at the first expletive.
As I grow older, I find myself amazingly leaning toward a more secular belief of life and death. Amazingly, because most in the autumn years become more religious as a sort of insurance policy, just in case their beliefs are incorrect and St. Peter really is minding the Pearly Gates. But it upsets me when I’m at church and I hear one of the parishioners take the podium asking us and God for forgiveness, confessing he’s an alcoholic, an adulterer, and he cheats on his taxes, etc. but then is been reborn and now has God inside him. What about people like me who kept the straight and narrow their entire lives? The biggest crime I committed was to rip the tag off a mattress. I’m not a drunk. I’ve never cheated on my wife. I obey the laws, pay my taxes, raised two wonderful and likewise law-abiding children, and yet I’m chastised for not wearing my religion on my sleeve twenty-four hours a day.
I once had a novel eliminated from a competition by a judge who was offended when my character used the Lord’s name in vain. Ernest Hemingway would have never made it to print using those criteria.
My mother once said that Bugsy Malone, the notorious gangster, was in heaven because he confessed his sins to a priest on his deathbed. That’s B.S. (Another graceful abbreviation.) I then asked her if I murdered, ruined families, stole, lied and broke all the commandments, would I still go to heaven if I confessed my sins to a priest. She said yes. B.S. again.
So, anyway, I’ll get off my soap box. My only excuse for who I am and what I believe in is because I’m an engineer. Engineers take nothing on faith. We ask why, how, when, what, where, and we want proof.
Back to my G. D. muse. It’s a G.D. muse because it’s an inconvenient S.O.B. (another graceful abbreviation.) If you’re a writer, and by writer I mean you who sits at a computer, typewriter, pen and paper, or whatever, and literally become your character, and you can’t put your computer, typewriter or pen and paper down until you have fifteen pages, then you probably have a muse.
Some artists like Lennon may have been visited by their muse while toking some Jamaican. Hemingway may have had his visits after downing half a bottle of vodka. Who knows? But my muse mostly comes in the middle of the night while I’m trying to sleep. Thus the moniker, G.D. muse.
The muse is relenting, often forcing you to find pen and paper to write your idea, plot, or action sequence down immediately, otherwise it flitters away like Tinkerbell without a trace. Many times I will be in the throes of a passionate kiss with my beloved wife when the muse surfaces and then I have to ask my wife to hold that thought while I write down the muse’s fancy. That goes over well, as you can imagine.
Then there are those awkward times when one is on the toilet and the G.D. sprite nags you to the breaking point. On one occasion, due to my lack of mobility, I had to write the muse’s idea on the sink with toothpaste. A difficult task in any instance but doubly difficult when nature calls. I’m beginning to sound like Stephen King.
Anyway, I’m presently co-writing a novel with Jill Wallace about the South African Border Wars. In one chapter the Zulus cringe in fear of an imagined specter they call the Tokeloshe. They believe the Tokeloshe attacks their women and eats their children. It is described as small and hairy, gremlin-like and mischievous. That’s the way I imagine my G. D. muse.
Perhaps tonight, when the muse comes to haunt, nag and cajole, I will use some shaman’s magic medicine to fend it off. Or, I guess I could just ignore it and watch some TV. I wonder what’s on a three in the morning.