Hello, Muse, where'd you go?
It doesn't matter if I credit my intuition or
the Greek Goddess-Daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne who
preside over the arts and sciences, a Muse is a Muse.
Without some source of inspiration, I simply cannot
will myself to write the words that hide just outside
the door of my consciousness, waiting to burst into
This was the case as I stared with blank mind at this
blank computer monitor, trying to figure out logically
how many embossed pink hearts are on this background.
It is not so different from those pre-computer nights
when I stared for hours at a piece of blank white
paper wondering if I could will my words into
Yesterday I decided to ask for help from the Unseen
World. I called on people I loved who had gone
invisible: my Gordon, my Dad, my mother-in-law, my
guides and angels, and anyone else who was listening.
I knew it would be quicker to write my memoirs in a
traditional, chronological format. Yet I was
unquestionably not getting a clear YES to do that. My
late mother-in-law pictured below, the wise and
beautiful dancer, Annette Goodman Greenwood, had
taught me that if I didn't get a clear YES to a
question, it meant I got a clear NO. I adopted that
idea long ago and it has simplified my life.
I thought perhaps Einstein could help. In his
later years, Einstein concluded that
the past, present, and future all exist simultaneously
in a four dimensional structure (space-time) instead
of the evolution of a three dimensional existence.
That convinced me that time and space, as we know it,
do not exist in bedrock reality, and most of us
Earthlings are actually part of
a three-dimensional illusion.
I thought of how Ram Dass, in Remember, Be Here
Now, called each moment the Eternal Now.
I couldn't omit Seth, my favorite
out-of-body entity who spoke through channel Jane
Roberts. Seth said repeatedly that all time is
simultaneous and managed to engrave on my mind that
the present is the only point of power. If any or all
of these things are true, then maybe, just maybe, none
of my angst about my inability to write the first
sentence of this page really matters at all.
While I was having this
"What's-it-all-about-Alfie" moment, an email arrived
from one of my dearest friends, Rev. Dr. Janet
Claire Moore. She included a quote worth repeating
by the late Vladimir Nabokov from his book, Speak,
Memory: An Autobiography Revisited.
Goosebumps. My thoughts exactly. I believe in
synchronicity, originally a concept by psychiatrist
Carl Jung that holds that if events happen with no
causal relationship, but still seem to be meaningfully
related, they are "meaningful coincidences."
I said a silent thank you to whomever answered my plea
and possibly messaged me through Janet. I keyed my way
to amazon.com to read more about this Nabokov guy, a
stranger to me whose words I had never read. A 5-star
review by Alok Ranjan was generously titled, "The
Greatest Autobiography of the Twentieth Century." I
read on and felt vindicated in
my choice of a non-traditional approach to writing my
own autobiography. I saw no point in writing a
chronological listing of boring dates and events, like
the boring history classes of my youth where an "A"
was given to the child who could sufficiently
regurgitate historical facts to the teacher's
"The pages are still blank,
but there is a miraculous feeling of the words
being there, written in
invisible ink and clamoring to become visible . .
Ranjan included another Nabokov quote from Speak,
Memory, and I quote Ranjan here. It mirrors my
own feelings about writing my
"As he says
somewhere in the book when he manages to link some
event in (his) childhood to something that happened
to him in later years, 'The following of such
thematic designs through one's life should be, I
think, the true purpose of autobiography.' "
The next morning, my daughter Kiki called from
her home in northern Minnesota. She had just read a
2015 review of a book she thought I'd enjoy, The
Art of Memoir, by the poet and memoirist, Mary
Karr. It's a book about how memoirs have been
and should be written. Kiki understands me
well enough to know that I would end up writing my
book, my way. I wouldn't allow myself to be influenced
by another writer's process. Still, for some reason,
she was inspired to call and tell me about it.
Ms. Karr teaches at Syracuse University and when she
teaches Nabokov, she "freely admits that he has little
in common with the other writers she looks at most
closely . . ." (Hmm, Nabokov? That name sounded
vaguely familiar.) Karr then listed some well-known
writers that included Harry Crews, a meaningful
coincidence since Crews was a former neighbor of
Kiki's when she still lived in Gainesville. Then Karr
cited passages from Speak, Memory. Wasn't
that the same book Janet had emailed me about? That's
what I call synchronicity. Twice within 24 hours, two
women close to me told me about the same book I had
never heard of, by an author I had also never heard
of. I googled wikipedia.org and learned it was written
as a series of individual short stories published
between 1936 and 1951 to create the first edition.
Nabokov's revised and extended edition was published
in 1966. I accepted the
synchronicity as a nudge to buy the book and went
straight to amazon.com and found a used hardcover copy
for $3.95 plus shipping.