My Inner Muse is a Harridan.


Stephen King says his muse ‘…lives in a cellar, chomps his cigar and makes magic.’ I wanted to know who mine is, so I decided to get in bed with my writer-self. I felt I have been neglectful lately, I expected her to perform, without knowing which buttons to press, or how to get her going.  So I asked her to talk to me about babies, mine are growing up fast and I certainly won’t be having any more. She didn’t want to talk to me about no babies. She said she has had to be a grown up for so long now, it’s her turn to be a child. She doesn’t care about babies, she said if she’s going to do any baby talk, first she would have to make a doll and it would go like this:-

Doll Maker

If I were to make a doll

I would first gather

sea-weed and bone

tie her together

with twine.

Her eyes would be

sea-glass. They would show

all the lives she has lived

reflected on the sea

ground surface.

I would dress her in

leather and decorate

her with blood of my own.


So I figured my inner muse is a wild haired harridan, who hankers after sun-bleached wood and bone, left on deserted beaches.The only beach that could come close to this description is Kilve. To keep my muse happy I arrived at the beach, hard-edged place of stone, fossils and story lines as old as time. I saw death everywhere, a human skeleton thrown casually over a wall, hung brazenly for all to see. I stared at it as I tried to work out the rib cage from the femur. As my eyes fixated the shape changed and I saw long lengths of grey tubing, rubbish cast aside.

I started to doubt myself and the story that had gathered in my head about a baby in a road; a piece of fiction that bubbled out of me the day before. I began to pick the idea apart, and ignore my harridan self, when some dead flesh caught my eye. Dead flesh encased in brambles. It was a dead sting-ray in the bushes. I took this as a sign that my ideas are as possible as the situation I found myself in. I embraced my inner banshee woman and headed off to create the death doll.

Reassuring fossils on the way, ancient fossils held still in the rock for endless time. ‘Why not.’ they say, ‘Take your time, follow your own process.’

I mulled over my story ‘Cold Concern’ that brewed away at the back of my brain, made decisions whether the baby is alive or dead, real or imaginary and felt more at peace with myself. I lay down on the edge of the rock, uncomfortably comfortable, listening to the sea breathing. Hunger got my feet to move back over the rocks and past the sting-ray – which had become covered with a black moving mass. As I approached, the dark curtain of flies opened exposing the intricacies, skin made from tiny dots, a pointillists dream, tail stiff and spiky matching the brambles around it. Satisfied with my trip to the sea, I remembered my pledge to make a death doll, with ambivalence I placed a bit of old material, sea weed, rock and a black feather together and made my way to the cafe.

Click on the circles, to get a slide-show.


2 Comments on “My Inner Muse is a Harridan.

  1. I’m sure you’ll find something unexpected to write about if you go. 🙂


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