It may be the middle of winter, but I’m remembering a beautiful day in better weather…
Over a Labor Day weekend several years ago, I relaxed on my best friend’s back deck, savoring clam dip and seven-grain crackers while observing the antics of the many hummingbirds who grace her property. My friend had a hummingbird feeder suspended on her deck and it was a constant source of energetic activity, despite the fact we were seated close enough to reach out and touch it.
The dazzling little hummers darted back and forth between the feeder and a nearby cherry tree, perching among its leaves while they plotted their next foray to the syrupy fountain. I swear, the cherry leaves were larger than the tiny birds.
As I watched them flit and flutter, it occurred to me that the delightful afternoon on the deck provided sustenance for my muse as surely as the sugar-water nourished the high energy birds. I needed writing time over the long weekend, but I also needed the trip to the farmer’s market, the family barbecue, the pool party with the grandchildren, and the time to unwind with friends in the stillness of a garden abundant with hummingbirds.
That year it was all too easy to lose sight of the need to feed my muse while I was scurrying to write the day’s allotted words before rushing to my day-job. And too often when the weekend arrived, I would obsess pver the paucity of words I’d accumulated during the week—so driven to find uninterrupted time to create that I forgot my muse needed bright, shiny experiences to act as fodder for her imaginative process.
I desperately needed to relax… to breathe. Take a walk; enjoy the children; absorb scenic beauty. I remembered that I needed to feed my muse, because a starving muse produces impoverished work, and what good is it to write volumes of narrative lacking the spark necessary to ignite a reader’s imagination?
The moral of this story? Enjoy life! Make sure your muse is healthy and happy.