More on my favorite topic: ME!!!

A reader on Vox Populi passed along a rather nice compliment and a rather tentative speculation. I wanted to boast about the compliment like a vain schoolgirl wearing too much makeup, and then set the speculation to rest:

My daughters played basketball and when they were winning they would not shave their legs or wash their game socks. I know disgusting. However, these girls believed that following those habits led to winning.

John Wright has been told by many people that his writing is amazing, wonderful, and awe inspiring. Readers have told him that his books have brought actual dreams and nightmares and others tell him that they cannot quit thinking about a particular story or character. Others compare it to a religious experience in that they can see the hand of God at work (even when he was an atheist). In every case John Wright has minimized his own contribution. He credits his ‘muses’ which is fine. But however he works his magic, he denies he is anything special.

Perhaps he’s like my daughters when they were on a winning streak (one lasted all season and the girls extended it to next years softball. ugh!), if he acknowledges the praise it’ll somehow effect his writing for the worst.

Just pure speculation Mr Wright. I am not saying you’re not telling the truth about the muses and all just saying that there might be a little ‘knock on wood’ in there too. I would never try to offend my favorite living author.

Now I am going back to my goat milk and honey cake plan to attract the magic writing elves on secret Catholic days.

The comment was found in a long dead thread, but, alas, we egotistical writers are attracted like flies to corpses when their names are mentioned.

My comment: Thanks. And Let me clear up one notion right here and now.

Please do not speculate that I have even the slightest superstitious impulse in me. The only people who are less superstitious than fanatical atheists (who do not believe in any supernatural powers) are fanatical Christians (who do not believe in any supernatural powers aside from the Omnipotent, and are strictly forbidden in any case to evoke them).

No, sir, take me at my word. I am being utterly honest with you. I know about my writing the one thing my readers do not know. I know how much is perspiration and how much is inspiration.

Materialists who think inspiration comes from the unconscious mind credit that part of your brain that does not have conscious thoughts with miraculous and godlike powers of creativity, nuance, word choice, rhythm, human insight, and so on. Humbug. Materialism is a crass superstition, as illogical as belief in a lucky rabbits foot, and a philosopher such as I will have no part of their nonsense.

No, the principle of Occam’s razor, that most scientific of principles, says not to multiple entities in a theory without necessity. When I write, I can see inside my head which ideas are the stupid and laborious ones I come up with, and which pop into my head as if from nowhere.

Theories of modern physics to one side, Einstein is right and Heisenberg is wrong, and God does not play at dice, and nothing comes from nothing. No entity and no event can come from a cause which is insufficient to create that cause, for the same reason that Rocs do not hatch from chicken eggs.

Hence, logically, if story elements, images, characters, plot twists, events, word choices and so on pop into my awareness in my mind, and I do not see their origins anywhere in my mind, then they come from outside my mind, from a source capable of understanding and producing great art.

An unconscious mind or unaware awareness sounds like a contradiction in terms, and the idea that an unaware awareness is aware of abstractions like plot and theme and symmetry and so on is nonsense.

So the source of thoughts found in me, if they did not come from me, come from an outside source. You may call it what you will. The ancient Greek called them the Muses, and I see no reason to demean them with a less dignified name.

Now, I am open to the possibility that spirits more righteous and upright than merely pagan goddesses are behind any of my writing that shows truly holy spirit in it, but at this point to speculate further may be beyond human wisdom, and is certainly beyond mind.

I am perhaps being humble but I am definitely being truthful, because humility is not the act of being falsely modest and self-deprecating, it is the act of seeing yourself as you really are.

Writing is like fishing. I can take credit for the size of the fish I catch in my kreel, my patience, or the skill with witch I select the bait and lures and so on. I can take credit for the easy snap of the wrist I practiced to do my cast right. But I did not invent the fish. God did. All I did was catch it.

So when someone says, “That fish was the MOST DELICIOUS SINCE the wide mouth bass caught by Robert Heinlein!!!” All I can say is, “Thanks. When I see the God who made the fish, I will be happy to tell Him. I worked hard to catch it, and I am proud of my work.”