Embracing A Muse – or Two

Salvador and Gala Dali

This was not the first topic I chose for my weekly post. I had planned on discussing why I feel every author of adult fiction should include one steamy, gratuitous sex scene in their novel. At least one. But the subject of sex in novels has already been discussed, so I reach my hand back into the cookie jar – oh no! Why must I be tortured!

The semi-colon. Is this a cruel joke? Punishment by punctuation? I never put this idea into my virtual cookie jar as a topic for reflection. Someone here at Indies Unlimited must have done so. I will make a bold and controversial statement thus drawing the ire of all competent editors. I believe the semi-colon has outlived its usefulness, except as an embellishment at the end of a declarative sentence. So there!

My hand reaches back into the cookie jar and I extract the word – muse. I breathe a sigh of relief. This I can write about because, in point of fact, I have two muses.

Visionary poet Arthur Rimbaud, muse to rocker Patti Smith.

But first, I will clue you in to something about my personality – I talk a lot and to anyone who will have a conversation with me. If they are interesting, or charming, we will talk for a long time. This includes all the cashiers at Publix, the sanitation man who picks up the garbage, and the guy soliciting money for his church. I like people and everyone has a story. So where did my muses come from?

My first muse, David, is an entertainer who I met on a recent cruise. My need to find a place where I was safe as an unescorted female led me to his piano bar, where he reigned as the Divo with a capital D. He is a piano player, singer, and a former ballet dancer. He is funny, and fabulous. Did I mention good looking? Sitting there while he performed, orchestra seat, thank you, I realized this gift had been dropped into my lap. I had brought a second draft of a forthcoming novella on vacation to work on, but this was too good. What should I do?

The next day I strolled into the Internet Café to send a message to my husband that all was well. The Internet manager was a bit short with me, I thought, when I asked about the calls coming to my iPhone from the ship’s network. I looked at his name and asked,

“Where are you from?”


“Oh, I like a Romanian rock group, System of a Down.”

“They’re not from Romania.”

“Yes, they are. “

He leaned back in his chair slightly to observe me, unsmiling.  It unnerved me a bit. I used a computer, said thank you and left.

That night I couldn’t sleep. I felt mildly claustrophobic and I went out on the balcony to look at the Caribbean. There was no moon, and I leaned on the wooden handrail looking down at the slight chop of the waves. A heavy mist floated over the water, and I decided to put the two chairs together and sleep outside for a while. Something demanded my attention, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was. I lay there on my makeshift bed and listened to the wake hit the side of the ship. How long before I would have the answer?

The next evening in the piano bar I realized, suddenly, that David was to be the inspiration for a new character in the second book of a series. I put the draft firmly to the side and began to write, sketching a character who would own a club in Tampa. My gut instinct, however, told me I was still missing something.

The next day I tried to use the computer, but was unable to get out. Two days later I went back, with an unresolved question in my head that had to be asked.

“Excuse me, I need to ask you something that has nothing to do with computers.” He looked at me and waited.

“When you smile your eyes don’t change.”

“Are you saying I have fake eyes?”

“No, no. It’s just that I’m a writer, and I’m writing a book about vampires.”

“I’m from Transylvania.”

I got chills.

“I knew it. I’ve never met anyone who looks like you. You look like my vampire.”

I won’t take you through the rest of the conversation. Suffice it to say I was a rude American. When’s the last time you commented to a perfect stranger about the way he looked?

The Superhero of choice.

This story has a happy ending. He graciously accepted my apology. Dragos is very proud of his country, and has taken the time to begin my education of Romanian history. The country is very beautiful, and I know I will go there some day. Eastern Europeans are more private than Americans because they have been through a lot. Yet, he has been generous with his own family history. He was my inspiration for a new vampire, a warlord. Only he has seen the pages I’ve written, and my muse approves. Our only disagreement is whether Batman is a better superhero than Spiderman. I say Spiderman.

My point is this. Rather than worrying about writers’ block, get out of your house and talk to people. And if you have a gut feeling that a gift of inspiration is around the corner, it is.

*     *     *     *     *

L. A. Lewandowski is a Contributing Author for Indies Unlimited and author of the novel, Born To Die – The Montauk Murders. For more information, please see the IU Bio Page and her blog:cultureandcuisineclub.com.

Author: L. A. Lewandowski

Lois Lewandowski graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in Political Science and French Literature. A passion for life lived well is reflected in her novels, Born to Die-The Montauk Murders, A Gourmet Demise, and My Gentleman Vampire, giving readers a glimpse into the world of the beau monde. Lois lives in Tampa, Florida. Learn more at her lifestyle blog, and her Amazon author page.

23 thoughts on “Embracing A Muse – or Two”

  1. Awesome post, L. I agree about semi-colons; I use them. But it is to piss myself and others off. I also agree about handsome male piano players. They tickle my ivory.

  2. You talked about "muse," used a picture of Rimbaud, and never mentioned Bob Dylan (see "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome").

    I never have trouble talking to strangers, it's them's got the troubles talking back.

    1. Pete, your profession requires a glib personality. 🙂

      I thought about Bob Dylan. But his relationship with Edie Sedgwick was destructive, and I love my muses. I'll check out that song again, thanks!

  3. Two things: Spiderman wins as he's a smartass, but Batman for darkness, depends on one's mood.

    And second, System of a Down are Armenian-American.

    You hit my music geek nerve, Lois, not necessarily a good thing. Oh wait, no, it's a good thing: I loved Patti Smith something fierce when I was like 14; what a strange kid I was.

    And yes, a cruise with you people would kill or cure me.

    Okay, that was way more than two things.

    1. Cruise!!!

      I did google System of a Down and saw that they all attended some famous Armenian rock school, that is after Dragos corrected me.

      I saw Patti Smith when I was 20. She was incredibly raunchy and wonderful. She sang, "Because the Night." A favorite.

      Spiderman rules!

  4. Aw. I saw her at Reading Festival in 1978, I think! She was looking for Johnny Rotten, or so she said.

    Spiderman was definitely my favourite superhero to draw. I couldn't stop drawing him when I was a kid, it was an obsession.

  5. He should have been thrilled to be told he looked like a vampire! I mean, it's not like I've seen an ugly one in the past few years.


    Great story Lois!

  6. Everyone is a story. I look at the people around me and wonder what their story might be. I don't usually think "vampire" first, however. But then, that's just me. Maybe I would be a best seller if I did, or longer lived.

    1. Sheron,

      Thanks for commenting. If we can get out and talk to the people around us their stories will give us ideas we would never have thought of. There's a lot of fertile soil out there. We just have to follow our instincts.

  7. Yes, very true. You never know where character inspiration will come from. I was researching an old manor house to use as a setting. I really wanted to know who the current owner of the place was. After much digging and very little luck, I found him on Facebook. I sent an email and told him what I wanted to do. He graciously agreed. I also said I would like to use him as a very minor character in the book. He was cool with that too. So, after several emails back and forth, I realized I had a complete gem. He was such an interesting, funny, and fascinating person I had to give him a larger part (again, he was cool with this). In the end, his character stole the show and when the book gets published, I think he might be the real star of it.

    1. Thanks K,

      I think the majority of people are kind, and happy to help. If it is something they love, in my case Dragos' love of Romanian history, they get to share with an audience that is fascinated.

      Thanks for sharing your own example of muse success. They're all around us!

          1. Fat, ugly vampires. With blood reflux disease. It's weird how they get fat when they can't keep the blood down.

            I just grossed myself out.

            I'd better stick with the hot vampires.

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