On the muse

People often think sabbaticals are holidays (one of my pet peeves, as some of you know).  Believe me, they aren’t. We make a contract with our home university to conduct research, and we also agree to deliver some products.  In my sabbatical proposal, I promised to deliver a couple of papers, which would have been a big job.

And then I got this big, stupid idea.

How about writing a book too?  Sure, do the papers, but we  (my colleagues and I at the VLC Research Lab) also have this body of research that has developed over the past decade and a half.  Why not turn it into a book, an accessible book, to make what we’ve learned available to practitioners in the field?  Great idea.  Of course, it turned into the idea that ate my sabbatical.

I hammered away on the structure and outline for a few weeks while also trying to attend to the things I promised in my sabbatical application.  Then, this week, my muse arrived and landed on my keyboard with a thud.  My muse isn’t some nice, literate, whispering friend; she’s more like Carol Kane in Scrooged.

Since then, I have had no choice other than to write.  My family, with me in New Zealand, is huddled around the television on this Sunday evening to watch “Pirates of the Carribbean: At World’s End” tonight on broadcast TV (who does that these days?).  I’m at the other end of the room, pecking away at my keyboard.

This is so inconvenient.  And wonderful.  May my children and their children be infected with the need to express themselves. May my muse find them some day and land, ungraciously, on their keyboards or whatever input devices they may have.

The simple truth is:  it’s fun when the muse arrives.

One thought on “On the muse

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