It comes when you least expect it. You'll be sitting watching a movie with your family, and a scene will come up that makes your brain say, "hey, that would be an interesting storyline." You are promptly thrust out of the movie and into your imagination, pondering the different aspects of a new storyline in your head.
The same thing happens when reading. You're reading along in a book that you find interesting, and come to a scene that the author doesn't elaborate on. Perhaps it's not really relevant to the story, but it sticks in your mind. "What would happen if they went this way instead," you find yourself thinking, and the book is forgotten for a moment as that thought is examined.
It's not limited to reading or watching movies. This phenomenon can happen when minding your own business while sitting and spending a few moments outside, say for your lunch break. It's a gorgeous day, everyone is out, walking, chatting, etc., when you see two people having an in-depth discussion. Perhaps they are angry, one is very intense -- but they walk away before you are able to know the conclusion. Your brain instantly switches into fiction mode -- making up storylines and plots before you even realize what you are doing.
That's when you know you're a writer. Your mind is never your own; it's taken by the imagination living within. That gift of story telling, that talent that sets you apart from your spouse, your friends, your neighbors or any other normal person around you. Your life will never be the same.
This happened to me just the other day. I saw a movie with a cute story line, and instantly another was created in my mind. I had to hurry and write it down because it was fascinating and I knew I'd want to flesh it out.
Those of us who have had this illness for a long time are well familiar with its effects, as are our families. They have come to recognize the glazed look, the frantic searching for pen and paper before an idea is lost, the tuned out world of a writer who hears no one but the voices in his/her head when the muse is in.
There is no cure for it, actually. It's a life long disease, this curse of the writer. There are times when it goes into remission, but those are not times to be desired, for the writer inside withers a little with each passing day.
So if you or someone you love suffers from this illness, be prepared. Keep lots of blank paper, pens, and chocolate on hand. Chocolate helps in any situation -- and greatly enhances the muse within.
On a side note: One of our floating bloggers is grieving this week for her mother who passed away. Today is the funeral, and we are with her in spirit, if not all there in person. She is a dear friend, and not the first to suffer loss this month. We've had many in our ranks who have lost loved ones and had to deal with grief in the past couple of weeks. May we say we feel your pain, are thinking of you and are praying for you every day. Take Care.