Trust your muse, a fellow writer once wrote in my margin, a man with whom I shared lots of laughs. And while it’s not advice I’d expect from a hardcore academic (someone with the prefix ‘PHD’ on his number plates), it’s lingered longer in my mind than many, more pragmatic comments.
When I first began to write it was still possible to reach one’s readers while remaining terminally shy. But since the literary publishing landscape has changed beyond recognition (and continues to), conventional wisdom tells us to knock ourselves out on Facebook and Twitter. As if.
I’m not sure my professor friend meant ‘muse’ as in inspiration (nor can I consult him now he’s dead). To me, ‘your’ seems to imply an indwelling presence or power. Yet, ‘the’ can be construed to allow for muses inner and outer. Either way the move shifts the emphasis off ego: counterintuitive, maybe, in a world ruled by social media. But as someone committed to risky self-disclosure in my fiction, I reserve the right not to burden this blog with a biography. And branding be damned: I couldn’t hack the prospect of suebooker.com. Without the muse it’d just be my best guess at who you want me to be.