Dec 22, 2011

Writer Ramblings: The Heart Knows Your Muse

The heart is a finicky thing. It’s strong and at the same time fragile. It works all day pumping blood but a few words from someone you're close to can make it feel like it wants to stop. It may even feel like it’s bleeding or broken, and yet, it continues on until that day comes where it finally does give out or the brain stops telling it to keep going.

I was a sophomore in high school. I had written several things, a short sci-fi and started a fantasy adventure. I had written a couple poems, but I hated them. I hated all of it. I loved writing but I despised what I wrote. It was raw, untrained and hard to read, probably something like this blog. Anyway, I had spoken to this girl in one of my geometry classes several times. She was smart, had a unique style that made her stand out in the crowd, and she was beautiful. The beauty thing intimidated me greatly. I didn’t know what I felt when she was around, but one day I realized I couldn’t stop thinking about her.

So, like everything else I wanted out of my head, I began writing down how I felt. What started as a list of things about her I enjoyed instead turned into a poem. I hated it of course. It didn’t work to remove her from my thoughts either. She had somehow found a way in and stuck to my dream world. She didn’t know this of course, but it was driving me crazy. I didn’t understand it at all, so I took a bible and started reading, hoping that it could at least distract me with a gruesome story about genocide or one about love and betrayal.

I wasn’t a devout Christian at the time, I went to church, I began believing in it, but I was not really all that interested. The bible though had plenty of adventures that whether I believed them true or not, some were very entertaining. I found a book inside called the Song of Solomon. I read it and suddenly I saw it, a perfect love letter that suddenly erupted in my mind. I wrote it, describing all of the things I loved about this girl. Some of it was very intimate. Far more than I ever thought I could write and it flowed perfectly. It was the best writing I had ever done. It was based off the Song of Solomon, except with the comparing her breasts to a herd of goats running down a valley thing, but had my own flare. When I was done, I read it over several times and not once could I find something I didn’t like. It was perfection. Something had awakened in me that was far beyond my feelings for this girl. The writer in me began to become self-aware.

It was both a curse and a gift. I realized, I really could write something with quality and later in life I realized I could never ignore the need to write. Like an addiction, it always wavered in the back of my mind. Haunting my dreams and interrupting my real world with fanciful day dreams of slaying dragons and saving the princess.

So what did I do after I wrote this wonderful piece? I folded it up and left it in a place for her to find. I didn’t make a copy of it like any other idiot would. I gave her the original and only copy. I don’t regret that though. Then I did the worst thing anyone in love should ever do. I ran away from her. Once it sunk in what I had done, I was petrified at the power she held over me. I was at first afraid she’d laugh, but then I noticed she kept trying to get close to me. Running into me in the halls, getting her locker stuck at just the moment I was passing by, and so on. I remember it all pretty well. Did I ever help her open that locker? Did I say hello? No, I ran as fast as I could. I was a really stupid kid. It was obvious she wanted to at least talk.

My heart was shattered. Not because of her, but because of myself. I gave into my fears and I hid away. After the semester ended, I never saw her again. For the next year, I rejected every girl who asked me out. They weren’t her. I was a miserable mess in every aspect of my life, except for one thing that kept me going. I began writing. I wrote a lot. Ideas for stories about heroes and adventures with romantic tragedy just flowed through my mind like rivers through valleys. I couldn’t stop the storms and my mind and heart screamed for more. So I kept writing. Everything I wrote was about death, loss and pain.

What makes you think that only actors are the ones that go over the top as drama queens? That deep connection to our soul is what makes us great writers. The ability to express those emotions in the form of words is what makes us who we are. Not unlike an artist painting a picture.

That girl so many years ago was my first muse. I never realized that then, in fact, I barely realized until I was driving to work this morning and listening to a song by Katy Perry called “The One That Got Away.” I started wondering if I had ever known a girl that I would ever consider the one that got away. The only one was her, but I was the one who got away so that didn’t really count. And that train of thought derailed into this blog. Sorry.

I have never regretted letting that girl slip through my fingers. Of course I did at the time, I hated myself for a long time for it and when I did start dating again, I compared every woman to her. Which I eventually realized was stupid because I never really knew her.

A few years after high school, I ran into a different young woman. That long forgotten sensation in my heart reawakened almost immediately. I thought about running away from this new girl and realized I would be a bigger fool if I did. So I chased the woman, until she married me.

We’ll be married for ten years this June, and she has been a wonderful inspiration that has expanded on my tragic dark writing to include moments of happiness and joy. She is my perfect muse that rounds out my ability to see the story from more than the angle of sadness and pain, a handicap I had not realized I even had.

Thinking back now, I truly feel that if I had to do it all over again. I wouldn’t have done it any different. That girl so many years ago put me on a path to finding a part of myself that I may have never discovered if I had not run. To that girl, I say thank you for your inspiration, wherever you are.

Do you ever think about that one that got away? Do you have any regrets for it and did losing that person inspire you to be greater in life than you would have ever been if you hadn’t let them get away?


  1. Thank you for a beautiful post. This is a powerfully written piece that evokes a lot of emotions and thought. I loved it.

  2. Thanks Lani. I sure felt a lot of emotion when I wrote it. I'm glad you loved it.

  3. What a sweet story! I'm glad you let the first one get away because you got a better one in your wife. :-) Love it!

    I was engaged to a guy for a while. I really dug him. We were on-again, off-again, by his choice, not mine. We had different religious beliefs. He was a missionary (yeah, go ahead and laugh! ;-) and I changed to make him happy. After being off-again one time too many, I realized everything that was wrong about us. We didn't fit the way I wanted us to fit, and I was sick of being someone I wasn't.

    If I'd married that dude, we would have divorced a year or two later. At the time, all I wanted was him, but when I finally got it through my head we were totally incompatible, everything changed for the better. If not for my experience with this guy, I probably would never have met the love of MY life.

    Life happens. Hopefully, we learn from it, even when it doesn't turn out the way we wanted. And a lot of times, we're better off because of it. :-)

  4. That's a very honest story, Tim, and you're brave to share it here. I have to put all the honest stuff into the mouths of my characters, so I can later deny that I was personally saying those things. :P

    The emotional-from-your-heart stuff makes for powerful writing though. I'm glad you found your final muse.

  5. Glad you ladies enjoyed the post. I'm very glad I found my final muse as well.

    Kendall, I'm glad you wised up in that first relationship. It's really amazing how much religious beliefs can affect a relationship.