As a writer and an actress, most people are surprised to find that actually, I'm quite rational and grounded in my work. I have never given myself over to the idea of a muse, Sharon Stone or otherwise, that assists or inspires my writing in some metaphysical or spiritual way. Because I am a masochist in so many ways, I like to take the whole burden of creation upon myself.
However, I am often given over, and quite against my will, to frequent bouts of writer's block that torture me day and night, like the sort of heavy constipation you feel after a week in a Wisconsin cheese factory. The words are in my head, the stories, the characters, but they flat out refuse to make the short trip to the page.
It is at these times that I get frustrated, and find myself wanting to write ANYTHING. My will, a grocery list, a list of people to beat down on "Big Stick Day"... anything that will get my brain going.
And then I discovered Eric Bogosian. Author, screenwriter, playwright, actor, monologist, creator of the wonderful play and film Talk Radio. There is just something in Eric Bogosian's work: the novel Mall, the plays like Suburbia and Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll and my favorite work, Notes From the Underground, that makes me able to write again. It's actually a simple process. I read his work, sometimes only a chapter or two... work I admire and aspire to, work I don't necessarily want to DUPLICATE, but EMULATE. I go lay down, I have a WACKY dream about Eric Bogosian and I get up and am filled with an energy to continue.
My dreams are of him leading me somewhere, instructing me, taking me on a tour through Paris, telling me how to bless the food at a wedding. It's very paternal... or, and please allow me to use this word once in my life: avuncular.
I recently had the opportunity to meet Mr. Bogosian at a book signing in downtown Chicago. I expressed my discontent with the publishing world rejecting my novel because of the oogy and uncomfortable topic of BDSM incest. He shook his head at me. "Write what you want to write, and find people who appreciate it," he said. "Don't change what you write to please some corporation. It came from YOU, so it must be important."
Then he signed my copy of Notes from the Underground: Good luck in all that you do.
So is Eric Bogosian my muse? I'm just not sure. Perhaps in a rational, logical world, he is. He's an actual human being. A human being I have spoken to. Perhaps what I've learned is that I have taken the definition of a muse too seriously, thinking of ancient greek goddesses, swooping in and whispering bits of poetry in my ear. Here's something I've definitely learned: I'm going to write what I want and find an audience to appreciate it. Because Eric Bogosian said so.