Mused Infused

Sketch by Georgia McLaughlin (age 11)

Sketch by Georgia McLaughlin (age 11)


Zombie Driven

Here’s the deal. I love zombie movies, zombie games and some zombie novels and short stories. Pardon the pun but they’ve been done to death. I have a few ideas floating around for a zombie trilogy. They’re filed away in a dark metallic drawer, waiting for the chance to come out of the closet and take a massive chunk out of my overcrowded imagination. There were just so many stories and novels out there. Then one day … bam, zip, like a bullet to the frontal lobe, the muse struck.

Brrraaaiiinnnsss,’ she whispered, ‘I want your braaaiiiinnnnssss.’

‘Well,’ I replied, ‘You can’t have them if you want me to write about Zombies.’

‘Brains, brains, brains …’

As a writer you can’t argue with your muse. You can try but the consequences might not be to your liking.

There’s the off chance you’ll win and then you find yourself not liking what you have just written.

There’s the probability that your muse will be horrifically offended and leave you with a serious case of writer’s block.

Or to teach you a lesson, bombards you with so many ideas all at the same time—so ha!

The muse will often hit you at the most unexpected times, for me it’s as soon as my head hits the pillow and that’s when I say goodnight to getting a decent night’s sleep: it’s not going to happen.

‘I’m starvin’. Give me your brains.’

Caving in, as I always do for my overzealous muse, I’ve written three zombie short stories. I have to admit I was worried but when I workshopped them …

‘This is some of your best work.’

Told you so.

‘You should write more.’

Isn’t there something you should be saying to me right now?

‘I never saw that coming.’

I don’t hear a thank you.

I’ll do more than thank you after these pieces, which have been sent out to competitions and publishers, win something or are published. But thank you anyway.

And …

I appreciate everything you’ve inspired me to write. I honestly do mean that.

I know. Because I can read your mmmmiiiinnnnddddd …

Give me a break. Okay there’s another zombie competition. I would like to get some words on the screen. I have the characters, the setting and the plot all worked out. I just need to start writing it.

Miss Muse.

Miss Muse?


Not so a-muse-ingly abandoned,



Experiment My Pretty.

Sketch by Georgia McLaughlin (age 11)

Sketch by Georgia McLaughlin (Age 11)

Who’s my muse talking to? Oh that would be me. If we never try to experiment we won’t learn what we love, hate, what we’re good or bad at and we definitely wouldn’t learn from our mistakes. I’m talking about writing and not drugs, sex and other aspects of life, like food.

I found myself in an emotionally bad place the other day and decided it would be a good time to start a journal. Only one problem. After I wrote the first word—one word—a character by the name of Dahlia stepped all over my brain and demanded that this story is her story and to hell with what I was planning. By the time I wrote the second line, the story was hers.

Maybe there was some stupid muse high on authority, maybe even drunk, insisting that I push myself to the limit and write the story in present tense.

Present tense.


Now who’s been experimenting with drugs?

Okay, so I caved. I wasn’t in a mood to fight. I was in a dark place and so was my character Dahlia. Actually she’s in the boot of a car. So the muse stamped her higher authoritarian feet all over my imagination and creative side of the brain.

I suppose I should be grateful. I was thinking about the story with all my concentration and I forgot about all the other stuff that was hindering the creative process.

Just when I thought the muse had collapsed on her bed with a hangover, she stuck her two cents in again.
Shorter sentences.


@#$%& BLEEP BLEEP!! @#$%

That’s it. I’m going to imagine one of my kids (when they were younger) banging on pots and pans for the next twelve hours.

The muse is amused.

Did I resist? Heck no.

It actually sounded like a good idea. After I calmed down that is.

So doing something completely opposite was actually not only nerve wrecking, I mean nerve wracking, but I did have some fun doing it.

Now for the scary part of being a writer—workshopping.

But the muse hasn’t finished with me yet …

Mused infused and definitely abused,


Where Art Thou Creation?

I hadn’t written a single word of fiction for two weeks. It was killing me inside. I write fiction not just because I love it but because it’s an excellent stress relief tool. I reached out to the tarot for guidance, to help me find a way out of a desperate and tense state of mind. Every time I dealt out a spread, the creativity card kept coming out. I know I’m creative, that’s the problem! Face your fears was another. But how do you face the fear of not being able to create when you can’t write a single word? A lot of card shuffling happened and a card flipped out and landed face down. The universe was trying to tell me something. I took a deep breath. Somehow, I knew what card that was.

Creation imposed itself in my brain. I put the cards away, and began to write. Of all the things to write …

Waiting for the immovable chance of moment

seeded in conception

spreading through amniotic protection

laying bare the foundations of soul and secretion

hounded by limitations

spearheading contradiction with useless darkness

spurring meaningless incantations of cynicism with lashings of boiled light


knitting ideals one solitude at a time

burning images to the blind

purge and the words will come

streaming, steaming, writhing, slithering,

naked and …


I am creation

What’s your excuse …

Normally I leave poetry to those who have the gift. I struggled learning it while doing the Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing. But sometimes, poetry pops into my already crowded brain and drops a line or two. I wrote this at a time that was dark, scary because I couldn’t even tap on the keyboard or hand write a single word. It wasn’t writer’s block because I could still work on my assignments. It was the issue of doing too much all at once.

No sooner had this poem popped out, I decided to take a deep breath, answer the question it asked of me. Doing too much wasn’t my fault. Life piles things up on you. My excuse was I was letting it get in the way of what I truly wanted to be. A writer. So I decided I needed to take a break from homework and rest up.

I now love this poem because it made me answerable to the predicament I was in. Writing it out somehow ex-or-cised the deeemons. The homework will soon end.

Poetry is like a blade on a knife. It can graze the surface, dig in an inch or plunge right into the heart of the matter. You take out whatever you need and as long as you write poetry that comes from the heart, soul and mind it will always help you to express yourself. I’ll take creativity anyway I can.

And yes I know it doesn’t have a title. Does it really need to have one?

The Muse was proud of this one,

EJ McLaughlin