Friday, January 25, 2013

Guest Post & Giveaway: Lor Rose and the Battle of the Muses



Any author, writer, poet, songwriter, ect. has their domain. A place where their creativity happens. Mine has a desk: beautiful dark wood with all the things that make a desk organized and lovely. A sofa lines the adjacent wall with a low coffee table full of magazines and loose papers. A music player plays creating the perfect atmosphere for writing, plotting, or blogging. My cat sleeps in the corner atop her cat climb, her tail hanging over the edge with a slight sway.

Then, it happens.

"LOR! Lookie what I have for you! Come here." There he is. Animus the Muse storms in, and my door banging against the wall startles my cat. Some days, Animus and I get along, and some days I wish to flog him, tie him up, and toss his fine ass in the closet for a few hours. Animus is loud, obnoxious, overbearing, egotistical, snarky, abusive, flamboyant, rude, annoying, hostile, and a penis wrinkle. He's also very fond of heels and crossdressing. Did I mention he's bleach blond, silver eyed, and a twink? No? Oh, well. I just did. "I need to give you something!"

I inwardly cringe... Animus is never gentle when "giving" anything. It's always a painful slap across the face. Not that I mind such treatment, but every day? My face is sore.

"An, don't bother her! She's working." Dear little Epicene runs in after Animus, tugging the renegade muse away. It doesn't work. It never does.

Poor little Epicene is quiet, cute, sweet, compassionate, and subtle. I'm also very unsure of Epicene's gender. Epicene is probably the most androgynous being I've ever met. I'm much too polite to ask about the plumbing below (for now). Epicene's hair changes as much as my Twitter stream; some days it's blonde, purple, green, light/dark blue, or any combination of any color Epicene decides. Today, it's red with hints of a blond so blond it shines gold. I kinda like it.

"Uh, excuse me. I've something to share, and it will be shared, dammit!" Animus yanks his arm away with a sour face only a mother could kiss. Okay, that was a lie. "Mind your own business for once."

"But-"

"No!"

I sit and blink at the two arguing in my office. My cat does little to nothing except blink and roll over to avoid them in a way only a cat can. I wish I could avoid them so easily. Dare I say I envy my cat?

The two continue to argue over the process of delivering information to me. Animus feels smacking me is very appropriate, not to mention it leads to "other means". He's referring to our "therapy" session courtesy of a friend, but all it did was prove Animus is a good kisser, among other things.

"She's an author! She likes the pain. Duh. Hence the whole authorly thing." There he is folks. Animus, my muse.

Epicene growls, and it's sort or cute coming from her--or, uh, him. "She's our voice, not some thing to beat into high hell." There it is again, Epicene's fall back argument. I appreciate the sentiment.

The two argue and argue over a topic so beaten into submission I'm surprised it even has an once of life left. I ignore them for the most part and opt to write this post instead. I'm so used to the two fighting it's more second nature-ish now to write in the insanity that is my two muses... or crawl under my desk. The latter is more likely to happen.

Almost all of my writerly friends have admitted to having a muse (or several) or hearing "voice(s)" who tell them what to do. I think I'll email a few friends asking about their muses and see what they say. My friend Patricia Lynne replies first, "Nope, I don't despite saying I do. Usually when I say I do, it's just to put a metaphorical person to my writing woes." Since she's my friend I'll let her get away with denying that she's crazy.

S. L. Armstrong, one of the owners of Storm Moon Press said. "I don't consider myself to have a muse." She's already denying she's crazy. "I find inspiration everywhere -- a song, a line of dialogue in a movie, overheard conversations, whatever -- without attributing it to a muse whispering ideas into my head." Why is everyone denying they're crazy? "I will say that when I'm writing, I can see the characters in my mind and hear their voices in my head, but I consider that to be different than a muse who is separate from the story." As you can tell S.L. is denying the crazy factor. Maybe K. Piet, another owner, will admit it?

"When it comes to muses, I wouldn't really say I have one." K. Piet has let me down... "I don't have a named muse in my head when I write. I sometimes describe my thoughts as tied up with the character that I'm currently writing, but I never feel like there's a phantom-like entity that pokes me into writing anything." Are muses phantom-like entities? Animus says no... "I might not have a muse, but I tend to have inspiring music. A song can make me really eager to write a certain story or character. The two musicians who currently get the creative juices flowing are Ben Jelen and Adam Lambert."

In a way I think both S.L. and K. Piet have admitted to having a muse but just different variations. They don't have someones like Animus and Epicene but they do have something.

"EPICENE!"

As you can see, I've two warring muses on my hands. Right now, I'm playing it cool because I know you're all watching me, but let me assure you, I want to fall into a hysterical mess and pound my head against my desk.

It's exhausting, having two muses who fight all the time. They pull me back and forth, leaving little room to breathe. Animus switches things on me, and Epicene jumps his case for doing so. Some days, I want to kill them both. Which is swiftly followed by me blowing up... Poor Epicene flees to a place only muses can access, and Animus puts his hands on his hips and glares at me, making me feel like a big pile of poop.

The world of a muse is something Epicene told me about, giving me a very subtle idea for a WIP. My other muse may or may not have been furious about this, and this "incident" may or may not have erupted into another fight.

The two are so opposite that I feel torn. Maybe they need to get a room somewhere and let "things" unfold between them, because for me, it all seems like sexual tension at this point. But what do I know? I'm just an author of male-on-male smut. I know nothing.

Since I know nothing, I'm going to sit here, my head resting on my hand and stare at them arguing.

Muses... We writerly folk can't live with them, but I fear we can't live without them, either.

Lor Rose is an upcoming author at Storm Moon Press. Her short stories will be featured in various anthologies, including GLBT Coffee Break Quickies, Dracones, and Serve Me. She can be found on her website, on Twitter @Lor_Rose9009, or her Tumblr account, where she often shares commentary on erotic photos with her room-mates.



Giveaway Opportunity!

This guest post is part of Storm Moon Press' 3rd Anniversary Blog Tour! Comment on this post or any other post on the blog tour with your e-mail address, and you'll be entered for a chance to win the Grand Prize of receiving 1 FREE e-book each month of 2013 from that month's new releases for a total of 12 free e-books! Runners up will receive a $25 gift certificate to their choice of Amazon or All Romance eBooks. For more details and to find out about our 3rd Anniversary, head over to Storm Moon Press' Official Blog. Thanks for joining us!

37 comments:

  1. Muses do seem like great story fodder themselves!

    vitajex(at)aol(dot)com

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    1. Mine certainly could... Though they like being the subjects of blog posts and not necessarily book characters. Epicene did mention them appearing in my Muse world idea but we shall see what Animus says about that...

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  2. Just discovered Storm Moon Press and finding some new authors

    avaliereads(at)aol(dot)com

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  3. SMP welcomes newbies authors with open arms. It's pretty cool watching other authors rise in their careers. Even cooler when they're your friend. ;D

    I hope you find some new talent to follow over at SMP.

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  4. Happy birthday, SMP and welcome, Lor!

    brendurbanist at gmail dot com

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    1. Thank you! I'm happy to be apart of SMP plus they're kind of funny. It's always a perk in my opinion.

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  5. Don't worry, Lor. Everybody else is just in denial. They'll come around eventually (probably badgered into doing so by their muses...).

    XD

    ashley.vanburen[at]gmail[dot]com

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    1. I've a few other friends who openly admit they're crazy. So, I'm not totally alone but still! >.<

      Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. My crazy friends and I will sit in the corner eating our jello and talking to our muses.

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  6. Happy Birthday!!! Please count me in. Thanks!

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  7. I'm sorry, I was going to leave a proper comment on several points, but I don't think that I am in a good fame of mind to do so. To put things succinctly, the implication that all - or even just the majority - of authors out there suffer from mental illness and hear voices of imaginary people is extremely offensive. Regardless of the INTENT of this article the REALITY is that you are stating something that is really really gross and disturbing and I sincerely hope that you consider avoiding this sort of thing in the future. -Not comfortable leaving my name for fear of being called "crazy" or "insane"

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  8. No. I write and I am not crazy. Not even as a joke.

    You're doing a careless and kind of insulting thing here by conflating inspiration with mental illness and also equating mental illness with harmless whimsical behavior. Not cool.

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  9. I don't have muses. I tend just to hear the voices of my characters. Some days it's just a nice bit of chatter, other days I want to bludgeon myself to get some piece. People are always baffled that I like absolute quiet. It's really hard to explain all the noise is in my damn head, and I appreciate outer quiet both for the peace and so I can hear the characters better -_-

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  10. This kind of attitude that creativity and mental illness are the same thing-- and that being crazy is responsible for creativity-- is offensive and actively harmful in addition to being wrong. This "lol I'm so crazy haha" attitude may seem cute to you, and you may even actually believe your own preciousness, but people who think that depression or mania are integral to the creative process often don't get medication and don't seek help for their very real problems because they fear losing their creative spark if they do... because they think the problems and the creativity both stem from the same imbalance of brain chemicals.

    And no. NO. No, no, no. There IS no connection. Real writers work consciously at their craft; real writers are in control of what they write, even when the going feels easy. They have exciting inspired times and sloggy boring times, but in either case they keep writing, because that's what makes you a writer: writing. Good writers make choices about what to cut and edit afterward, because people who don't edit their work or know when to cut the unnecessary words may also be writers, but they are bad writers.

    Some writers also suffer from a painfully cutesy need to deny all involvement in their own work and claim that it all comes from anthropomorphized muses, as if that is somehow more valid than actually being good at something by their own merits. If you're going to claim that, then at least have the decency to own it as a thing that *you* like to do, not some objective truth that applies to everyone who writes. It isn't, and you're only making yourself look childish and unprofessional by trying to insist that it is.

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    1. I actually take offense at your comment that the two don't go hand in hand. As someone who suffers with multiple mental conditions, including Bipolar I, medication did, indeed, kill my creativity. My psychiatrist even noted that it was common. He told me, "You can choose the creativity, or you can be normal. You can't always have both."

      I am a real writer who works hard at my craft, but I also know that my mental issues contribute to that craft. Every doctor I've ever seen has had that opinion, too. Am I in control of what I write? Of course. But I don't see anything horrible about Lor's opinion of how her writing process goes. By telling her that her process is invalid--and her thinking of her own process is invalid--you're also doing harm. You're telling her that her way isn't Right. There is no Right way to write. There is no Real source of creativity. It's individualistic to each one of us.

      Say that there are 'real' writers is offensive. It's the No True Scotsman Fallacy. Trying to claim that one group are real writers because they do things the way you think they ought to do things is horribly offensive and insulting. You are not the authority, and people are free to write how they write, and it's just as valid.

      A couple of people have come here to say how offensive Lor is for using the term 'crazy'. They say, 'I'm not crazy, so you're being offensive', as though crazy is a bad thing to be. Which is just as offensive. As someone who is 10lbs of crazy in a 5lb bag, I recognize she was being factious. At no point do I believe that she was implying that everyone who sets pen to paper or hands to keyboard has a diagnosable mental illness.

      Lor has muses. She has muses that help her with her writing. And that's okay, because it's Lor's writing process and world, not yours. Not mine. Not anyone else's. :)

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    2. But Saundra, Lor is claiming that her writing process IS everyone else's. She's stating that those of us who don't subscribe to the "muse" model are in denial and are actually "crazy" the same way she is. And that's really not her call to make.

      (Tangentially, I had absolutely the opposite experience with having my own mental illness medicated; it has made me MORE capable of being consistently creative/productive. Yet another issue where one person's experience is not everyone's, and multiple paths to success are valid?)

      Delete
  11. After reading everyone's opinion (on my supposed to be fun piece) I can honesty say I meant no offense or to give the intention of projecting every writer is "crazy."

    If that is what you, as a reader, took from my supposed to be fun guest post then that is your opinion and you are entitled to it. The same as I am entitled to think that every author is just a hint of crazy for even taking on the daunting task of trying to write a book.

    Animus & Epicene are part of my process. I am not the only author who has a muse with a physical appearance and a name. At writer conventions you will hear most talk of their muses or "the voices" in their head and none of us bat an eye. Why? Because we know they're not crazy and we understand what they mean.

    I take no offense to anyone's opinion on my Battling Muses because it is yours. Have at it. I won't put down anyone for their thoughts or how their personal process takes place. So please, comment and enter to win because you have nothing to fear from me. Now, my awesome pit bull publisher S.L. Armstrong is a different story. I have no control over her. ;D Rip me apart or agree with me. The decision is yours.

    Have fun folks! Comment and enter to win the big prize for Storm Moon Press.

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  12. wow, Anon from earlier- I had really hoped that the grossly harmful generalizations made by the author of this were really just those of the author and not the press, but if this is the sort of thing the people behind SMP really support (and damn anyone who speaks up with actual concerns) then I can guarantee that SMP will never receive a penny I own, and I'll be sure to point all of my friends to this dialog.

    I know that the author probably MEANT to write this in a lighthearted manner, much like many authors on ffnet and similar communities speak in a lighthearted manner of their muses. That still doesn't change the REALITY that it is very oblivious, harmfully oblivious, to the challenges that some of us face every single day.

    Saundra, don't put words in my mouth. You don't know me. You don't know what I have to deal with. Don't brush off legitimate concerns by me, or by anyone else, in some attempt at trying to make yourself look like the impartial and benevolent publisher with all of the answers. By taking a side like this, you very very clearly show just what you and your business stands for.

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    1. And as a followup to the author, Lor, I'm really glad that this process works for you and that you seem to have so much fun with it. Your muses sound like very interesting characters.

      I just really really wish you didn't make such sweeping statements implying that all authors are crazy and must have voices in their heads or they aren't real authors.

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  13. I am sure Lor meant no offense, and the post was to be fun. If its any consolation, I am not a writer but I do have a Korean boyfriend thats totally in my head, I talk to him sometimes and we can get all kinds of creative :D and no I don't have a mental illness. No, I am not making fun of mental illness.

    This post was to be something fun, so lighen up guys.

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    1. "This is supposed to be fun, lighten up" is a rude as hell statement to make in a discussion like this, or, in fact, in any discussion where someone is voicing serious concern with something they find problematic.

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    2. Discussion? This was a guest post of an up and coming author sharing her writing process through the celebration of SMP 3rd year anniversary. You my friend, need to check yourself before telling someone they just made "a rude as hell statement". This was supposed to be a comment for a chance to win something, now I am just trying to process why you're even here at all.

      I don't take kindly to rudeness on my blog, so if you aren't commenting to win please don't comment at all. Thanks!

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  14. When trying to be fun means you're succeeding at saying something harmful, you tried and *failed*. This post is a good example.

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  15. Your muses are quite the entertaining bunch, Lor. You might need to keep Animus on a leash, though. =)

    adara @ adaraohare.com

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    1. Sweetie, you know I try but alas... Animus is Animus. -sigh-

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  16. This is a comment to win! If this post offends you or causes you harmin any way then please don't read it. Its the writing process for one author, not all authors. POR is not a place arguing, its my fun place for reviews, guest posts, and pretty boy things. All this is killing POR vibe!

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    1. Darien! Thank you for having me at POR! I've enjoyed you very much. ^^

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  17. Thanks for the post and contest! I would love a chance to win!
    OceanAkers @ aol.com

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    1. No, thank you Julian! Animus, Epicene, and I will make future appearances for sure. Where I go they go.

      Hopefully you win! Good luck.

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  18. Thanks for the look at Animus and Epicene. They certainly sound like they keep you busy :)

    Count me in for the giveaway, thanks!

    penumbrareads(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. You've no idea what a handful they are...

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  19. It was an entertaining post for me as a reader.

    Jess1
    strive4bst(At) yahoo(Dot) com

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    1. I'm happy it did. Good luck with the contest.

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  20. Hey Lor! Thanks for the interesting interview/dialog. I too have had to battle with muses. The most recently, NaNo!! Here I was, around day ten or so. I had already written quite a bit of the story when all of a sudden, Nada, Nothing, Zilch in my head. I was just sitting there, staring at the monitor. Suddenly, the second day of this frustrating ailment, here come two voices that have absolutely nothing to do with the story in front of me. What is one to do? They told me they wanted their own story so I opened a new page and their story began. As I'm writing their story, the two MC's from my NaNo started complaining, saying I abandoned them. It all worked for the best. I finished NaNo on day 20th with a little over 50K and it's been edited now.
    I Love when the Muses fight for my attention! Keep it up and even if they drive you batty, don't give up!
    Thanks for the opportunity at the giveaway!

    ~Rush~
    taina1959 at yahoo dot com

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  21. Mine aren't characters they're more for blog posts and assistance in the writing thing. I tell people they talk my characters into telling me what to do. Well... Animus bullies them whereas Epicene coaxes them nicely.

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  22. LOL, looks like you have your hands full there. I'd love to see a story about your two muses, maybe they'd finally give you some peace then!

    tiger-chick-1(at)hotmail(dot)com

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Go ahead and talk to me!