october and the muse

I’ve noticed a pattern in my life over the last twenty-five years of tinkering with creative stuff, a cycle that I’ve come to ride instead of resisting, to run with instead of pushing against. We all know how it turns out when you move against the flow…everything gets tied up in knots, and nobody ends up happy. The minute you choose to go with it, it works like gangbusters.

In meteorological terms, I suppose it could be called the Creative Season.

It usually strikes around October-time, when nature comes back to its senses and finally pulls back on the oppression of summer. Suddenly, the muse – and no, I don’t call it that in conversation, but I like the idea of it, and even if we called it “the little creative voice in the back of our heads” it would still end up meaning the same thing – starts chattering away like a squirrel on amphetamines. “Okay, writer guy!” she says, in her far-too-cheery wake-up voice. “Let’s get cracking. There are literary worlds out there that aren’t getting any more created with you hanging around in flannel, drinking things that taste like pumpkin!”

She can be a little pushy.

But that’s of pure benefit to me.

It’s not as if she ever went completely silent. She was rattling off ideas all summer long, so many wonderful things I can hardly keep up most times. But the heat where I live is so inspiration-stifling that none of them could come to fruition. They feel the sizzle and go dormant like the rest of us, just hoping not to dry up and fly away. This year, though, June through August was more of a three-month brainstorming session, with all kinds of new possibilities showing up briefly before taking their leave. Much of this has shown up in the form of Dapper Press, which comes closer to a full-on launch every day. Most of the story ideas, though? Those hung around just long enough for note-taking before heading for shade or jumping in a pool somewhere. Some might consider this a frustrating period of non-productivity. All start and no finish. A bunch of “Once upon a time” with no “and they lived happily ever after.”

I call it Collecting the Possible.

I ended up with a notebook full of snips and scraps of things that will grow up to be full-on works – and not just novels, either; there’s a novella series, and a set of short tales, more Joe Vampire material, further development of a few already-in-progress works, and some stories for kids and teens and all-age readers.

Thanks to a summer full of half-begins and didn’t-quite-get-intos, I can spend October onward fleshing out a varied slew of new material.

My theory? Autumn lets the trees fall dormant and the temperatures drop so the creative folk can have a theater of wonder in which to spin their next wonderworks. It’s a little calm-down to say, “Back at it, kids…the muse is well-rested and ready to make some sweet magic!”

The first new thing past the finish line: A Joe Vampire short story celebrating Halloween. Joe used to love the holiday, but now that he’s a vampire in perpetuity? Well…October 31 has become a little irritating. An invitation to Bo’s Hallowaaane party brings it all to light. There’s another Joe short in the works…something about a suspicious new neighbor. And the holiday stories are coming right behind that.

And it’s not even October yet.

Three cheers for the autumn awakening.

Joe Vampire Halloweenie






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