Thursday, February 3, 2011


Current musical muse:  Last Train Home by Ryan Star*
(*a favorite listen and used as "muse" in my story)

I TAMED TWINS. They were part of the zoo I was in charge of feeding, housing, and returning to "the wild." The tag-team was also a total surprise. Even to the doctor. At 3:00 in the morning I was advised my son had brought reinforcements (undoubtedly heard his older sister on the outside and made the decision she was too scary to face alone). His brother arrived four minutes later. 

Twins come without a set of instructions and rule the universe they are visiting. They have a bond that can't be broken. They're weird. They're a blast. One is "the instigator" and the other, "the informer." When they took off in opposite directions, I just had to decide which one was in the most danger and let the other roam free. They never face life alone. There's always someone to share everything with from chicken pox to alibis. The last was used constantly throughout their life, and I'm sure, I'm still being duped.

When your seven-year-old calls to establish an alibi for his whereabouts "all day" (the time was specifically mentioned which was my first clue - he'd only been gone an hour) your system goes on alert. My twins were supposedly next door playing while I was on cupcake detail for a church party. I pondered the phone call a full minute before donning my detective hat and running shoes (twins require a lot of chasing. I had the best damn legs during their early years). I stepped out onto the back porch and smelled smoke. At that moment I realized I was about to be the proud parent of a young arsonist.

Quickly, I rounded the fence line and discovered the small group of trees (3 to be exact) behind our subdivision (affectionately referred to as the "magic forest" by our kids) were being devoured by flames licking up their branches. And off to the side of the small inferno was Twin A. "The instigator." Of course I ran to make sure he was okay before I killed him. It should be noted here that twins have "followers." A small gaggle of boys appeared. Apparently, the "club meeting" had taken a turn for the worse when they decided to see if the lighter they discovered on a treasure hunt, could start a stick on fire. When it did and they dropped it they witnessed how fast a fire can spread. Lucky for them, the sidewalk and street halted the fire, and the only casualty was one tree. The Fire Department responded within minutes and the other "proud parent" stepped from the driver's seat of the engine and faced Twin A. Meanwhile, Twin B arrives on the scene wearing the angelic face of innocence...smudged with dirt and soot, his blond locks smelling of smoke. His alibi lost credibility immediately. Because my little darlings' father was on the fire department, they were spared any legal repercussions, but spent the next four Saturdays washing the whitewalls on the engines and pulling weeds in the gardens in front of the fire station during their dad's shift. Community Service.

This is only one of many pictures my twins colored in my life. My reason for sharing? I'm asked where my ideas for stories come from, or what inspires my imagination. Jordan and Jesse, my twins in Designer Genes were created from the two muses who kept my life from becoming dull. That's why they were so fun to write. I'd already been inside their heads, knew how they competed constantly with each other, and how when push comes to shove and life deals one a particularly rough hand, the other is there to support and stand guard. Such is the relationship with my characters.

My stories generally appear in my daydreams, usually while on a motorcycle, taking in the view and alone with my thoughts. They play like mini movies in my head. I see my characters physical features, hear the timbre of their voices, and watch them pull other characters into their world. I play the movie over in my mind, watching different scenarios play out. If they "click" a plot is formed and I put the "movie" on paper.

Some story lines come from a life experience, the words of a song that's touched me, a picture, or even a conversation I happen to overhear or a scene I watch while enjoying a cup of coffee or sitting at the park eating lunch. Some muses are instant stories, while others never materialize beyond a few sentences. I call them my "bruises." I never throw away ideas. Another day, a "bruise" may become a best seller.

What's your favorite muse? What spice flavors your life?

Again, thanks for stopping by.  Joelene, Harley's "twin"

Today's thought:  The easy things in life pass without notice, but when something's difficult, it gets our full attention. We can't rise above the "mushy" stuff. We need something "hard" to help us stand. (special thanks to Clancy Metzger for inspiration)

No comments: