Anaiah Press proudly presents BOUND BY BLOOD by Scott Springer, an inspirational romantic suspense novel now available!
Writing to the muse.
Hi. I was asked to write a guest blog on any subject of my choice for Eclipse Reviews, and thank you for that because I have something I think would be fun to share. I call it writing to the muse. It’s a story about me, and more.
So, once upon a time I wanted to be a writer. Well, off and on all my life I have had this desire, but this time was right after my daughter was born. I went through sort of a renaissance back then.
The basic tenant of writing is read, but I approached this differently in the day because I wanted to make sure that whatever I said was original to me. Now, while I wouldn’t recommend this approach and it is most likely the reason I’ve turned fifty-six before writing something publishable, I did learn an interesting lesson.
One night I was at my Brother word processor, which my wife had bought used and I thought it was so cool to be able to edit in place. It was late at night and my wife was sleeping and I was typing away at my story, which I never was able to finish, but on this night something magical happened. If you are a writer you probably know about this phenomenon, but as my fingers clicked away the story began to pour out of me faster than I could type. It was as though the idea was coming from outside of me. It was as though I was merely transcribing the words sent to me from the great beyond. It was a very cool and exciting experience, and later I fell into bed quite satisfied with my writing.
In my story two things happened. My hero moved through a cave. Now, when I was a kid Mike Quail led me through a storm culvert that ran under the freeway. As I wrote I recalled the mustiness, the darkness, and the need to shuffle along hunched over. I also recalled emerging once again into the light. In my story, my hero exited the tunnel into a meadow with a creek and butterflies and a gorgeous girl. It was pretty awesome.
Like I said, I never finished the story. The renaissance period faded and I needed to find a way to make a better living now that I had a kid to support. Life goes on, but years later I was getting my education and needed some elective credits and took a class in mythology. You, my dear reader, may already know where this is going.
We read about Gilgamesh, considered the first great work of literature. It is the story of an ancient hero who walks through a tunnel and emerges into a garden. Seriously, I said to myself when I read this. The author of Gilgamesh stole my story.
Ha, ha. Later we read that according to Joseph Campbell the walk through the tunnel is an archetype, meaning everybody thinks of it. At first, I may have found this discouraging. What I had thought of as a magic moment in writing was actually nothing uncommon at all. I may have felt that way, but I didn’t. Instead I was psyched to think that I had found on my own the same font of knowledge the ancients had visited.
In this understanding I found a very human moment.
Rick Mercado stood in the doorway, his mouth dry with nerves. He forced an easy breath and settled his focus on the man behind the desk, searching his eyes. The man rocked back in his chair and gave a satisfied smile. He was bald on top with gray on the sides. His hand swept the room, inviting inspection. “This is it,” he said. Rick scanned the small office as directed: Cluttered desk, leather high-back chair, a window shaded with plastic louvers, everything a little dusty. “It’s very nice.” The man puffed out his chest. “Oh, it’s not much, but it works.” Rick’s lips twitched up toward a smile. “I built this company on my own, you know. No silver spoon.” “Yes, I know,” Rick said. Ben was a self-made man. He had mentioned this several times during the employment interview, which had been coffee at the truck stop. At the end of which, Ben had reached across the table to offer Rick a calloused hand and welcome him aboard Ben Johnson’s Concrete Construction. Ben tilted forward and a spring squeaked. “Close the door.” He pointed to the small chair in the corner. “Have a sit. We’ll go over your duties.” Rick pulled the chair to the center of the room and faced the desk, but he remained standing. His hands rested on the steel tubing that framed the chair’s back and his head nodded with interest while Ben shuffled some papers. Rick had taken an instant liking to the old contractor. The glint in the man’s eyes reminded him of ringing door bells and running off. When the waitress had asked his age in a playful way, Ben had said, “I’ve been ordering from the senior menu for years.” Then giving her a wink he had added, “Nobody ever wants to see my driver’s license for proof.” Thinking of this, Rick’s grin widened. He was going to like working for Ol’ Ben Johnson. He had a good feeling. Except then Ben stiffened up. “What’s so funny?” Rick’s lips tightened. He said softly, “Nothing.” The old man studied the young one with a fatherly eye. “Times have been tough out here the last four years while you’ve been hiding in the books.” “Yes, sir.” Ben showed him the stack of papers. “But business is starting to pick up again.” Rick nodded agreement. “Been in this business all my life, and it’s cyclical. Feast or famine.” The old man gave the young one a significant look. “You hungry, Rick?” “Yes, sir.” “Then wipe that grin off your face. This is serious stuff.” Rick’s grip on the chair tightened, but then he caught that glint in the old man’s eye. Rick laughed and Ben joined him. “Got you, didn’t I.” “Yes, sir. Yes, you sure did.” Rick felt his body loosen. “But seriously, my point is this. If you are going to be running work for me you need to wipe that grin off your face. My crews are all good, but they’re roughnecks.” “I can do this,” Rick said. “I know you can, that’s why I hired you. Fine, strong young man. Got all the confidence in the world in you, boy. You’ll make someone a fine hand someday.” Rick warmed. That’s what his dad always said. “I’ve got some sidewalk repairs coming up. We’re replacing a driveway later this week. But I’ve got significant jobs to bid on. A couple of restaurants and even a small strip mall on the interstate. I’m sure I’ll keep you busy.” “That’s great.” “And if not, I suppose you can always do office work for your dad, huh?” “Sure,” Rick said. “But I’d rather make it on my own. When I walk out to take charge of a crew I don’t want them whispering Daddy’s Boy.” Ben’s round eyes gleamed. “I respect that, kid. I do. Your dad is a fine contractor and stiff competition. I can’t help but feel I’m cheating him a little.” “He’s fine with my decision,” Rick said evenly. “Then I’ll let it go at that.” Ben stood and stretched his hand across the desk. Rick knew the knuckle crushing strength of Ben’s grip and was prepared for it this time. The two locked on and worked forearm strength against each other. All the while Ben grinned. “You’ll get there, kid,” he said at last and loosened his grip. “Thanks again, Ben. I won’t mess up this opportunity.” “Of course you won’t, but look.” Ben’s gaze returned to the papers on his desk. “Everything is all formal now. I have a written job description for site foreman. You have to read it and sign it. And whatever else. Tax papers and such. Julia knows all that, so introduce yourself to her on the way out.” He glanced at the clock. “If she’s back from lunch.” “Yeah, sure. I will.” Rick turned to leave but hesitated before opening the door. “When do I start?” “Tonight. Be back at six. You can help us bid the strip mall. It’s big and I don’t want to mess it up.” “Sure,” Rick said. “See you then. I’ll bring a calculator.” He stepped out and saw the young secretary sitting at her desk in the small reception area. She was a real cutie with dark hair cut shoulder length and intense eyes, but there was something more there than merely good looks. The old man’s words hung in his mind. Are you hungry, Rick? Yes, he thought, surprising himself. Yes, I am.