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Is God my muse?

I wrote another book. I say “another” because I had one published in 2010. This new one had been in the works and under contract for over a year, but I had writer's block with it for almost the entire time. Only within a handful of weeks before the book was due to the editor was I able to sit down and knock it out. I did not even have time to read it through once completely before sending it out; so, I waited to see what the editor might say. I held my breath as it were. There was silence. I waited some more. Then, I wrote to ask tentatively what the editor thought of the manuscript, and there was more silence.

I imagined the worst, that the editor must have thought the book was terrible. I started sighing and consoling myself that life would go on.

Then, the editor wrote back. She said that she loved the book… and she put “loved” in CAPS. I was thunderstruck. She indicated the book was good enough to go to press with only some minor text editing, and I decided to read what I had written. The contents of the book is as follows:

'Gestalt Therapy for Addictive and Self-Medicating Behaviors' (Springer Publishing)





Chapter One: The Nature of Addiction and Self-Medicating Behaviors

Chapter Two: The Essence of Recovery

Chapter Three: The Will to Change


Chapter Four: The Nature of Individual Experience

Chapter Five: The Importance of Relationship

Chapter Six: The Sense of the Situation

Chapter Seven: The Willingness to Experiment


Chapter Eight: One's World

Chapter Nine: The Role of Discipline In A Person's World

Chapter Ten: Your Client's Body The Physical Horizon

Chapter Eleven: Your Client's Thought life The Cognitive Horizon

Chapter Twelve: Your Client's Emotions The Affective Horizon

Chapter Thirteen: Your Client's Relationships The Relational Horizon

Chapter Fourteen: Your Client's Ultimate Beliefs The Spiritual Horizon


Chapter Fifteen: Living in the Present

Chapter Sixteen: Working One's Own Program

Chapter Seventeen: Trusting in the Process

Chapter Eighteen: Submitting to Community


I'll be. It turned out well. I still have not read it all the way through, but the chapters I have read seem to be good. It's a mystery to me a kind of miracle.

Following this, a colleague in New York recommended that this book be presented at his institute and shared with a certain Andrew Tatarsky who has a treatment centre in New York and advocates a harm reduction approach to recovery from addiction. All of that is nice. It's encouraging.

However, when something is a gift, you can't really take credit for it. The book is what it is, and it remains to be seen if it will actually be helpful to people. Besides all that, the book, in the way it came about, is an oddity. The outline for it came in a flash, pretty much all at once, and the actual chapters were hammered out in a grueling marathon of writing that left no time for anything but direct handling of the subjects and the quickest route to completion. I did not have time to try to be great. I only had time to hopefully be done.

Is a creative project a matter of inspiration? Does being creative require that one has a muse? What is a muse?

The muses were supposed to be goddesses who inspired various forms of artistic, creative expression: poetry, history, song, tragedy, hymns, dance, tragedy, and astronomy.

I don't see how astronomy fits with that list, but perhaps many a romantic night back in ancient Greece was had while gazing at the stars. The main point, though, is that there is a source of one's inspiration, one's creative energy, and one's productivity.

I know that for me the enthusiasm of writing comes mostly with the idea. The actual writing is hard work. When it comes to actually writing, it requires self-discipline. I have to force myself to start putting words on the screen, and I have to make myself remain in the chair when almost anything else can entice me away.

Recently, we were off the Island conducting a wedding in the Pacific Northwest. During this trip we met with an old friend to talk about our respective lives. She is also a writer, and she was on her way to a writer's conference.

I started sharing with her my idea for a particular project, and she suddenly became concerned, because she thought I would lose the steam it takes to write by telling the story before it was actually written down.

That is not how it works for me. The more I have a chance to talk over with others the idea, the more energised I become about the project. The writing will always be drudgery… or at least it has been so far. The more the project takes shape, the more energised I become and the more I need to put it down in print.

I love the arrival of the gift. I don't believe in Greek goddesses, the muses. I believe in the God of the Bible, but I have a problem claiming that God gives me what to write about.

I can't claim God said to say such and such. However, God gave me the brain that I have, and

He placed me in the family in which I grew, and he provided many experiences and walked with me through them all. I have what the Bible calls “the mind of Christ” and so I have access to a Godly perspective, but is any particular idea the idea that grabs hold of me and won't let go; the idea that dwells in me over the span of years and grows the whole time is that from God? Is God my muse?

I would like to think so. I would like to think that in some small way I am in line with thinking Christians who write. I am a writer.

Hemingway said that writers write. So, now that I have completed another book, I'm beginning to anticipate the next project. Maybe it will be as simple as my editor telling me to get busy and write about… about….

I guess I'll find out.

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Published August 23, 2011 at 2:00 am (Updated August 23, 2011 at 9:51 am)

Is God my muse?

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