Monthly Archives: March 2011

Calling Your Writing Muse

I used to think that I had to be ‘inspired’ in order to write.  I waited for those all-too-rare moments of brilliance – I was foolish enough to believe that I needed them, or else I couldn’t write.

Turns out, that was totally a lie.  I have a lazy muse, that’s all; one who would rather lounge about her pajamas eating fried food and watching old Firefly episodes.  (Turns out my muse in uncomfortably like myself.)  Is it any wonder I never finished anything?  I’d start something in a high excitement, and then…the inspiration faded.

Since then I’ve discovered the secret of muse-management: Your muse is not some willowy blonde with a sheet and a sulky disposition, your muse is a dog.  If you call it, it comes, and if you train it, it learns to be obedient.

Set aside one hour a day.  It works best if it’s always the same time of day, so pick an hour that you can be consistently faithful to.  And when that hour comes, I don’t care what you feel like, you pick up your pen, or you sit down in front of your computer.  You tell your muse that if you and she write X number of pages (I used three, because I’m a pen and paper writer), you can leave as soon as they’re done, whether the hour is up or not.   If you don’t finish your pages, it doesn’t matter if you don’t write a single word, you will not budge from your desk or put down your pen.

It’s likely your muse will throw a tantrum at first, and you’ll feel all rebellious and like you’re wasting your time.  You may have an hour or two where your pages stay blank except for doodles.  But after a surprisingly short time, you’ll begin to write.  Sometimes it will feel like the most terrible writing you’ve done, and sometimes you’ll finish the minimum three pages and that will be it for the day.  But more often than not, because you called it, inspiration will come, and when the hour is up, you’ll still be writing feverishly and you won’t want to stop. Instead of three, you’ll get a fabulous six pages, or ten, or fourteen.

It works.  I only wish it hadn’t taken me so long to figure it out.

Masquerade Ball

It’s been one of my personal ambitions to attend a masquerade ball, so when I learned there was going to be one in Seattle, I twisted a friend’s arm, and we went!  It’s called “Venice is Sinking” and supports a charity, so it’s definitely a win.

For several reasons (including the fact that it goes on until 2am) we decided to stay over in Seattle one night.  I booked us a room at the lovely Warwick Hotel, and we had lots of time to get dressed and primp before the ball.

My friend Sara borrowed my 18th century pocket hoops and built herself a gown to fit over them. The pocket hoops ended up being very practical, as we smuggled in our own drinks and snacks inside them!

She decided to use this youtube tutorial for her hair.  It’s a good thing I re-familiarized myself with the tutorial before we left, because it turned out to be too difficult to do the hair ratting and pinning by herself, so Sara recruited me.  It turned out marvelously, and held up through the entire evening!

I wore my sixteenth century “Dangerous Beauty” inspired Courtesan outfit.




















It was fun ball, although the entertainment was not as non-stop as we’d been lead to believe, and the costume contest was a total bust.  I’d been assured it was a judged event, and since the prize was a $1500 couture gown, I’d decided to try for it.  However, all the ‘judging’ meant was that a person walked around and handed out five golden necklaces to the ‘best costumes’.  No offense to the winners, but they weren’t the best costumes.  I saw many ladies in attendance whose outfits were far better.  One of the necklace winners was simply wearing a simple white evening dress with a wig – not at all in the same category as a lady wearing a full (and very gorgeous) 18th century costume who did NOT get one.  I didn’t get one either, sigh…but it wouldn’t have mattered since after you got a necklace, it turned into a popularity contest after all.  The winner won based on how many friends she had screaming in the audience.  😦

The entertainment was excellent, with roving performers such as contortionists, stilt-walkers, jugglers, and acrobats.

Periodically, they had stage performers as well, from Burlesque (and those ladies had gorgeous outfits!):

to circus-style silks and hoops:

My favorite costume I saw was this guy.  He had a moon mask with an actual hanging light.

It was so awesome, I had to get a video…and then of course, I held the camera wrong and ended up with a sideways picture.  😦

Then we had fun with the ballroom lighting:

And Sara very artistically fixed her skirt:

The next morning before we came home, we spent the day in Seattle.  We discovered the Sculpture Park isn’t worth seeing, and the best pizza comes from a little hole-in-the-wall place with boardgames and quirky artwork. We also visited the Great Gum Wall at Pike’s Place Market.

Hmmm….where to put our contributions?

I think she’s found a good spot….


And yes, I found my own perfect spot as well…


For more pictures/information about my costume, you can visit my costuming site.