Thursday, February 17, 2011

My muse needs Florida sunshine!

I’m very curious what other writers experience. What does your muse require to stay healthy, happy, and inspired?

"Hemingway is great in that alone of living writers he has saturated his work with the memory of physical pleasure, with sunshine and salt water, with food, wine and making love and the remorse which is the shadow of that sun." ~Cyril Connolly 

I read this quote today on Dictionary.com and it resonated with me. Last fall my husband and I visited Key West, where bits of trivia about how Hemingway’s love of coastal life seemed interwoven into history of the island. 

Recently, I’ve learned how critically my environment influences what I write, as well as the depth and tone of my writing. Lately, my writing muse began begging to be more connected with the outdoor world, Florida sunshine. I’ve been busy for weeks, attached to my main computer with dozens of files constantly open, creating interesting guest posts for my blog tour—jobs too complex to accomplish on my netbook out on our dock. I even took a few days and let my muse work on a new book, but that didn’t seem to satisfy her. Daily word counts were met, so what was her problem? After a few more days spent with a frustrated muse who left my nerves in a bunch, I realized she needed to feel the inspiration of the warm sunshine and rhythm of the waves. I’ve always known I write my best while outside, but didn’t grasp how essential it really was. My discontented muse finally got through to me--she must recharge outside at regular intervals in order to write contentedly inside for a period. 

So, when I stumbled upon this quote, I was pleased to feel a kinship to the great author. I understand his connection to the year-round, summer-like sun of Florida, the salt water and how it flavors the air. The inspiration of coastal life is huge and something that becomes a part of you, in your blood. 

Here are some other quotes on the same topic which connected for me. 

The richest of all lords is Use,
And ruddy Health the loftiest Muse.
Live in the sunshine, swim the sea,
Drink the wild air's salubrity.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

This verse by Emerson is a more formal, pastoral representation of the same idea. The sun and sea restore and revitalize the spirit, and in turn health.

the thousand colors
in her plain brown hair—

morning sunshine
~Bernard Lionel Einbond

Those lines are so simple, yet lovely. They help me appreciate how I pull fantasy scenes and storylines from my time spent enjoying nature. The sunshine illuminates, opens my mind to more…

“The two basic items necessary to sustain life are sunshine and coconut milk. Did you know that? That's a fact. The two basic items necessary to sustain life are sunshine and coconut milk. Did you know that? That's a fact.”
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~Waldo Salt

This is fun! Again, the same idea. I might change out the coconut milk for iced tea or a variety of exotic rum drink, but the tropical ease of being around coconut palms is important beyond satisfying my palate.

I’m very curious what other writers experience. What does your muse require to stay healthy, happy, and inspired?

18 comments:

Jenny said...

My muse needs fresh air, sunshine, time to breathe, relax. Too much hussle and bustle makes her nervous, off kilter. My muse loves it when I go for long walks or bike rides, anything to be outside in the warmth. Lately she's been way too cold. She's really liking this warmer weather and I've noticed...when my muse is happy, so am I.

great post!

Marsha A. Moore said...

What's good for the muse is usually good for us. Few writers' muses flourish on dangerous vices.

Thanks for stopping by, Jenny!

Janice said...

When writing my first book, Windswept Shores, I had to listen to waves breaking up on the beach.

I had a photo of an island in the Bahamas, where the story was set.

I would sit for hours studying photo after photo. Reading though books about the Bahamas and Aussie slang. Until I could felt the warm breeze against my skin and heard the waves, along with a deep male Austrian voice.

Janice~

Marsha A. Moore said...

That setting sounds wonderful, Janice!

Kay Dee Royal said...

Marsha, you're right about the sunshine and nature. Laptops are a wonder that allow me to move around my house and in the warmer months, you'll find me on my three season porch.
I live in MI, so enjoy writing in winter months as well, all snuggled up with a cup of hot chocolate, my favorite ambient music, and my citrus & sage candle going. I do like sitting in front of the picture window, however. Nature always brings out the best in me also. Thanks for sharing.
I love FL and it's sunshine and ocean...you do have an awesome place to write.
Kay Dee

Marsha A. Moore said...

Michigan has so many lovely places also. Plenty of my stories are set there, often on the shores of one of the Great Lakes. Thanks for visiting.

Racquel Henry said...

Great post Marsha! I can write anywhere. What keeps me inspired is reading. Really studying how other writers craft a story always makes me want to get behind my computer and craft my own
. :)

Marsha A. Moore said...

Hi Raquel! Reading and studying stories of others does give me a definite boost, ideas to mull over, but translating it into my own voice seems to require a quiet self-reflection I only gain with nature.

JL Stratton said...

I sometimes write in the strangest places and situations. But, what my muse most prefers (I think) is good old-fashioned peace and quiet. Seems easy, but it can be more difficult then one might think to find this elusive little devil. I often have to wake up real early or stay up late to coax it from its shy hiding placing.

When all else fails, I try to draw it from the darkness with music. Music often sets the tone of my writing, and if I am writing a scene that requires a certain mood, I'll just keep clicking through my song list until I reach the ones that give, or propogate that mood.

But hey, sunshine and fresh air are good too, when I can find it.

Marsha A. Moore said...

Hi J.L.! Music is tricky for me. If I select incorrectly, it can ruin my muse. I use it sparingly to match and extend my inspiration.

Great that you stopped by! Have a good weekend.

Dianna Morris said...

Well, I’ve lived most of my life in Florida. Memories of childhood in Michigan have to do with cold, ice, wet, snow, mud, frozen mud, mosquitoes, and if the lights blinked three times you were without electric for three days.
I love Florida. If I get stuck, my muse and I do something outside to get the ideas ‘unstuck’. You can spend more time outdoors here (without fearing death by snowstorm) than anywhere else.
But it does take some adjustment. Once a neighbor, newly transplanted from New York City, came pale-faced to my door panting that she had a scorpion in her kitchen. I snatched up a hammer and marched over, fit to do murder, I can’t abide scorpions.
Her trembling hand pointed me to a brown Cuban Anole, a very small insect-eating lizard, lolling on a sunny window sill. It cocked its head, fixed me with a tiny bright black eye as if to say, “Jezz, it’s Florida. Tell her to chill out.”

Charlie said...

My muse also works better when I'm able to be out and about and enjoy some wonderful quality weather. But if I'm forced into the house on a dreary winter snowstorm, my muse will settle with a crackling fire and warm mug of cocoa. My muse is such a princess! I have to cater to her to get her to work. haha.
Thanks for sharing.
C.K. Volnek

Marsha A. Moore said...

Diana, that is so funny about the "scorpion." *shaking my head*

Hi Charlie! I'm lucky I don't have to tempt my muse to create. Give her necessary time outdoors and that's about it. She won't work if the physical body is suffering though...she can't get past colds, sinus infections, etc. But, that's not a biggy.

J Q Rose said...

Chocolate...do I need to say more?

Marsha A. Moore said...

Ohh...chocolate helps!!! Thanks, J.Q.!

Randall Lang said...

There is something inspiring about being able to turn your face up into the sunshine and take a deep breath of warm scented air. The very sight of endless expansions of blue water stimulates the mind to generate tales of adventure and of love. And finally, being, at last, free of heavy layers of clothing and the curse of grey skies is akin to shedding pyschological chains that have prevented the mind from dreaming. I long to some day join those of you whose muses sit beside you in a beach chair, drink in hand, to watch the sunset.

Yours,
Randall Lang

Marsha A. Moore said...

Randall, I'd love to share the beach with you and your muse. Hope you get back down here sometime soon. I'm taking my writing and crits out on the dock of our lagoon for a few hours to soothe the soul. I keep having to look at the calendar to believe it's not April...high of 81 today!

J Q Rose said...

So true, Randall. The sun really helps to spike up the happiness meter. You'll see sun soon up north!