Jodine Turner


Marriage of the Muse and the Mess

I was in a writing group for 14 years. They were my first line readers. I truly appreciate
d how their frank critiques helped my manuscripts grow into their best versions. 

During one writer’s meeting, we pondered the question, “Who writes?” When we sit down at the computer, who is it that comes forward to communicate the storyconcept, to express the dialogue and scenes, the story, the creative wealth, as well as the consciousness transformational experience so necessary in Visionary Fiction?

After considering what happens when I write, I arrived at an answer to “Who writes?” Simply yet profoundly—the whole of me. Not only the transcendent witnessof my life, outside of me, up there, out of body. And not only my creative muse, or divine guidance and inspiration. These are part of the equation, but they are not the whole. These aspects are disconnected without considering my oftentimes messy human self – my painful grief, raging anger, bottomless despair and struggle. Without my experiences of felt emotion, none of my writing could touch the hearts or souls of my readers. My stories would be void and sterile, written ‘about’ rather than written to intimately engage.

It is so important to feel—to physically sense, allow, accept, digest and metabolize all of our emotions. The lack of doing so can create writer’s block (among a host of other unpleasant things). While penning “Carry on the Flame: Destiny’s Call” I was stopped short for a few months. Unable to continue writing about my character Sharay’s gut wrenching experiences of loss and injustice until I created the space in my body to process my own personal loss and grief. 

We can all turn the dross of our life experience into gold. Integrating my beautifully messy human self with my muse, my passion, my divine guidance and inspiration—now that is where the spark of creativity truly ignites. In that integration, the compost of the stuff of life is brought to perfected alchemy. Passions flows freely, I express my truth in writing, sentences shine, plot is engaging, characters have sensory depth and they grow from their conflict and tension. Readers feel emotions and experiences alongside the characters. This can only be created from the union of the mess and the muse.

As writers, this alchemical union of mess and muse is much like the process of how characters achieve their goals through their transformational arc within a story. Characters don’t start out without flaws. There would be no story there. Characters start their stories with conflicts and obstacles to what they desire. If that is not part of their experience there’s not much point in telling the story, now is there? Readers would lose interest.

The muse without the compost of the mess is barren. 


If you write (and we all do in some form or another), how would you answer the question, “Who writes?”

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