Monday, March 29, 2010

Creating the Muse

Before I took leave of Miss Dickinson, I asked if she knew what direction I should go to find more writers. She pointed to the right and told me she thought I should take the next tunnel branching left. Buoyed with directions, and hope, or at least a semblance of it, I continued my journey through the warrens of the rabbit hole. Deeper and deeper I wound through the dank cavern.
I saw him bent over an old wooden table before he noticed me. I cleared my throat. "Pardon me..."
He looked up, fountain pen still in hand. “Don't get many visitors down this direction. In a way that's good. Gives me solitude and time to write.”
I studied his face. Angular. A broad brow, made more so by a receding hairline. Warm eyes that saw more than he let on, and a strong mouth that revealed something between a faint smile and serious wisdom. I recognized this man. “I hope my interruption doesn't annoy you unduly.”
“No. No. I need to take a break. I've been going at it for nearly six hours, now.” He laid the pen aside. “It seems you know me, so you have me at a somewhat of a disadvantage.”
I introduced myself, told him I was a writer of sorts, and said, “Could I ask you a question, Mr. Steinbeck?”
“Of course.” The discernment that played about his mouth turned into a wry smile. “Ask away. Like some of my characters I can't promise a completely honest answer.”
“I have a few tales churning around in my head. Sometimes they don’t flow onto the paper. You've written a lot.”
He nodded.
“I wonder if you could tell me where, or how, you get your stories? What do you do to foster the muse?”
“Easy,” he said. “Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.”
“Thank you,” I said. “I'll have to work on that.”
For a few different ideas, look on my web page: . Until next time, that’s it from The Storyman ….

Sunday, March 7, 2010


I inched my way along the rabbit tunnel. Somehow there was always enough light to see and I never knew where it came from. It was my emotional state that caused my slow progress, and as a result I kept my eyes down. So I almost missed seeing the next person in my venture. She had perched herself up above eye level in a small alcove. She was dressed in a white, high necked dress. Her large brown eyes peered at me as though they could read my secrets. Her full mouth appeared to be holding back a smile.
“Hello,” I said. “Who are you?”
“Come now. You don’t know, Mr. Storyman? I’m surprised, a student of literature…” She let the words trail off.
I shook my head.
“Emily,” she said as her lips twitched up for an instant.
Ah yes. I knew her. “I’m glad to meet you Miss Dickinson,” I said. “I admire your work.”
“Thank you. I must say you look… I’m not sure… frightened, unsure. You need confidence. A bit of verve to bolster your attitude.”
Her eyes had seen inside. “And you’re going to give that to me?”
“Hardly. You must invigorate yourself. Just remember that hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul— sings the tunes without the words— and never stops at all.”
I wondered. Was there more? Hope, huh? I guess that’s it. Better than insecurity to bedevil my psyche. If there’s anything else, or even if there’s not, you’ll find it on my web page at: . Until next time that’s it from the Storyman.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


I’m almost getting used to running into these people from the past. I’ve met them in books, but now that I’m down in this rabbit hole and meeting them again in the flesh it’s a bit bizarre. I think I understand how Alice felt. At least I don’t have to deal with the Mad Hatter. Now, if someday I run into Lewis Carroll. Hmmm.
I felt a tap on my shoulder. “Pardon me. You are difficult to find.”
I turned and there was Doctor Fromm. Again.
“What?” I said.
“I think there’s one more thing you should know.”
I didn’t respond, except to look at him and wait. A good philosopher would say what was on his mind.
HE cleared his throat. “The task we must set for ourselves is not to feel secure, but to be able to tolerate insecurity.”
“Is that all?”
He nodded, gave me a wry smile, and walked away.
Down here is definitely not secure. Of course it often wasn’t on the top side either. I guess I’ll have to tolerate it.
For more insecurity, or maybe madness, depending on your point of view, here’s the link to my web page… .
Until next time, that’s it from The Storyman ….