Punk the MuseSo, it’s been a while since I’ve written a Punk The Muse column. Easy, isn’t it, to slip away from regular work? You think you’re doing alright, everything is hunky dory, you’re a real writer, painter, composer, musician—whatever. And then one day you realize you haven’t done anything in… well… a while. What happened?

First, let it be said, sadly: it is possible to screw up. I don’t want to beat myself up every time I slip from my creative routine, but it’s not okay to just shrug shoulders and make nice. You have to take a stand and get back to work. If you mean it about living creatively, you’d best ante up again after a loss. But how?

Hang on. We’re gonna mix up some metaphors.

broken downWhen the battery has died, and you’re lost on a country road, there’s nobody coming by to help, the weather is getting worse, the beasties are on the prowl, wattaya gonna do?

You have to take stock of where you are. Is it a field in the middle of nowhere? Start categorizing the wildflowers. Have you awakened to your self on a mountain peak? Start counting the summits behind and ahead. Listen to the birds — can you identify their calls? Hunt the beasties down. Or join them.

Perhaps the problem is that you’ve awakened and found yourself in the same old place so that you can’t really see it anymore. Your office has become your dungeon.

The way to start is the same wherever you are: close observation. That’s how the artist antes up. That’s the price to pay to get back in the game.

Bench + wildflowers

You say you don’t know what to observe. I say it doesn’t matter. Start with your fingernails. Why not? I remember an early science lesson, perhaps from 2nd grade: the teacher had us scratch the dirt out from under our fingernails and place it in little saucers in the sun. After the saucer had heated up for a day or two, we examined the stuff under our microscopes. It is a lesson I have never forgotten. See, fingernails, whatever, here I am, writing.

It is slow, it is tortuous, but it is something. The universe in a grain of sand, my friend. And speaking of sand, the hourglass is running. Get to it.

Charles Kruger
The Storming Bohemian