Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Tag Archives: muse

Evolution of A Muse In Fictional Worlds


Another Behind The Scenes post about Notes from An Alien today :-)

These happen every Friday and sometimes have spoilers, though I don’t think today’s will—never fear, if I change my mind before I’m done writing, I’ll alert you—plus, the best way to inoculate yourself against spoilers is to read the book—it’s short and Free—Grab A Copy :-)

I’ve used something called Active Imagination for many years—introduced by the psychologist Carl G. Jung.

If your a writer, the following description of Active Imagination will have a familiar ring—if your a reader, it will tune you in to an interior function of writers (it’s a rather long excerpt but could be enough information to let you experiment with the technique):

Active imagination is a technique developed by Jung to help amplify, interpret, and integrate the contents of dreams and creative works of art. When approached by way of writing, active imagination is like writing a play. One takes, for example, a figure that has appeared in one’s dreams or creative writings. Usually, these figures express a viewpoint quite the opposite of one’s normal conscious view. Sometimes it is a male, shadow figure. At other times, it may be a feminine, anima, or maternal figure. One starts to converse with the figure in writing. One challenges the dream figure and lets him/her challenge the dreamer. The dreamer asks the figure why he appeared in the dream. He asks the figure what it wants from him. Then, the ego, like a playwright, puts himself as best he can into the figure’s shoes and tries to express it and defend its viewpoint. There ensues an iterative dialogue between the writer and the opposite figure in his dream or piece of writing. With practice one can become accomplished at expressing both viewpoints, just as a playwright does. One gets better at this the more one does it, just as the playwright does. The technique of active imagination tends to detach the qualities and traits that are first seen in a dream or in a story as belonging to external persons, and coming to see them as belonging to one’s self. Active imagination, then, helps the writer become conscious of his opposite qualities by forcing him to give voice to figures, like shadow figures, that carry qualities opposite those of his ego. These qualities personify the rejected opposites that are present in the unconscious. This technique helps recover these rejected opposites and make them available to the ego and consciousness without necessarily having to act them out.”

One note: The process can be done without actually writing anything

In my 20s, when I first encountered the concept of The Muse, I’d also become familiar with Active Imagination.

I began a decades-long, conscious relationship with Her

By the way, my belief is that most men have a female Muse (Jung would call her the Anima) and most women have a male Muse (Jung’s term, Animus).

Yes, this post is still about the short novel Notes from An Alien but I must relate an important bit of personal history.

I named my Anima Delva before my daughter was born—her mother named her Audra—we did not confer on either name

The importance of this fact for the novel is that most of the main characters’ names end in the Ah sound:

Rednaxela, Xela, Zena, Mura, Verta, Sena, Morna, and Delva…

Yes, I named a main character after my Anima—plus, most of the other female characters are “relatives” of my Anima—my Muse

Also, the Ah sound (which also extends to place names {Anga, Anla, Angla}) is a technique (which some readers struggle with) to introduce an “alien” quality into a book where the characters (by necessity) act quite like humans from Earth

So, while the most obvious reason for my writing Notes from An Alien was to portray a civilization, struggling with War and Greed and reaching toward Tranquility and Peace, I also wrote it, on a much deeper level, as a way to evolve my relationship with my Muse :-)

Also, a man and his Anima always relate as a Team to other women (whether the man is aware of the Anima component or not).

I bring this up because of a previous post here called, Writing & Games ~ Sometimes It’s Hard To Tell Which Is Which…

In that post, I talk about my using a Flight Simulator to give me time that’s detached from the everyday world so I can read deeply, ponder, and meditate about my writing

In my plane, I have passengers—some are folks I know who are living and some have passed into the Beyond, while some are my characters

I invite them on board in case they want to give me advice or counsel

This is an extension of my practice of Active Imagination

And, today is the Birthday of one of my Passengers (though for her, it was yesterday since she’s in Australia)—she’s the one who sits in the co-pilot’s seat :-)

Looking forward to your comments on this post and, please, don’t forget, you can ask me Any questions about the book in Any of these Friday posts
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“Writing Is Like . . .” << This Is A Meme-Challenge


Darcia Helle, author and founder of the very cool forums at BestsellerBound, has thrown me a challenge.

Before I attempt to answer it, I encourage you to go read what she wrote to complete, “Writing is like…”. Here’s what I have to say in response to the challenge:

Writing is like dating a metaphysical goddess !!

It was only four days ago I wrote, When The Muse Speaks . . ., then, yesterday, Darcia challenged me to complete the prompt, Writing is like…”. I take the near appearance of those two events as an instance of synchronicity; and, the metaphysical goddess that my muse is certainly knows how to operate through synchronicity…

The process of writing a book, for me, begins with my muse asking me out on a date. The “asking me out” is her way of slipping me an idea she wants me to develop into a book length piece of writing.

When it comes to this blog, I usually do the asking out.

This post, however, had Darcia unwittingly invoking my muse’s ability to use events I’m not directly involved with to bring me a chance to interact with the wider writers’ community.

In that post I linked to up there, When The Muse Speaks…, I give some information about how I formed a deep and entitized relationship with my muse–she is extremely real to me and has been since my twenties.

We are, in fact, married and, yes, we still go out on dates :-)

Of course she’s metaphysical because she’s an intimate part of my mind; yet, she has her autonomy–oh, my, yes she has her own independent way of living!

There are times I call her and she’s nowhere to be seen. There are times I’d rather use my own little ego-mind and she cuddles up and insists we work together.

She’s a goddess because she has creative power and she knows more about morality and proper behavior than I could master on my own.

One thing though: she guides my conscious mind when I write–I don’t feel like I’m sitting here taking dictation–I feel like I’m just me intending to purposefully convey what I think.

One thing more: All my writing may resemble what I thought I’d decided to put down but resemblance is not the same as identity–all my writing surprises me

My muse may not seem to be there telling me what to write but she’s always “there”, even when I don’t see her and she won’t talk to me and I can’t catch a whiff of her fragrance.

She’s my wife and she’s trained me well :-)
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When The Muse Speaks . . .


Any of you remember the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, the nine muses of myth? Here are their respective fields of museness: epic poetry, history, love poetry and lyric art, music, tragedy, hymns, dance, comedy, and astronomy.

Are you a person who creates in one of those areas?

Do you think there are muses for other creative activities?

What about the muse of Fatherhood?

How about a muse for bricklayers?

Perhaps each person has a muse specialized for whatever they choose to do with their life?

I’ll vote for that last one without denying all the other possibilities :-)

It’s been said the muse is a shape-shifter. Which could mean, for a creative writer, the muse plays the part of all the characters inhabiting the author’s head.

Then there’s the issue of whether the muse is really “in” the head. Can’t the heart abide a muse’s process? Couldn’t a muse hang out on one’s shoulder?

My muse has been with me since I was born. She made me do things as a child that my mother wondered at and my father abhorred.

I worked hard in my twenties to make her proactively real. It’s a process called Active Imagination

She’s changed her name many times and she usually, of late, speaks to me without using words.

Her latest command was to be more attentive to this blog–make it shine

Since I know the task isn’t just on my shoulders–she doesn’t issue commands that she doesn’t help me with–I feel I can make the effort.

I do hope that small percentage of my readers who leave comments will let me, and her, know how we’re doing
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“Notes from An Alien” Is Published !!!


Yes, I was impregnated by my Muse about 18 months ago, have been through some arduous labor for a number of months, and yesterday, at 12:05:02, I gave birth to a beautiful baby book :-)

Now, I must carefully nurture my baby book–make sure I feed it the right mix of reviews and interviews–give it a chance to be exposed to the education of discussions in the virtual world, Second Life, and in the online Forum I’ve prepared–to let folks know its Character and what it can add to their knowledge about how to take a civilization from greed and war to enduring Peace

I also have to start thinking about cozying-up to my Muse so she can help me give birth to this book’s sibling, Stories from Angi.

By the way, the Forum has a section for folks to discuss what they’d like to see in the stories in the second book; but then, someone has to read the first book to recommend what they want in the second book

That pinkish link in the left side-panel will lead you to my other site where you can buy Notes from An Alien, or get a free copy emailed to you :-)

Time to put my baby book to bed for the night.

If you leave any comments, try to be as quiet as you can………………………
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