Help! Real People are Sitting on my Muse!

There’s something about bad news that brings out the opinions. People you’ve heard from twice in the last five years are suddenly front and center, telling you everything you’re doing wrong, how you could do it better, and how they could do it best of all.

Hell, no! They’re not in my creative space. Most of them don’t even know I write, much less get draft copies of my writing. It has nothing to do with my work, itself. It has to do with all the other things people are weighing in on. The things that they didn’t notice, until bad things happened. And… suddenly… Opinions Everywhere!

I have an aunt.

And on paper, we seem to have everything in common. Well, a lot in common. She’s the aunt who gave me my first journal, when I was a kid. The one who reads a lot and writes a little, and who actually loves a lot of the same books I do. Who introduced me–with varying degrees of success–to a lot of the arts and music, and intellectual pursuits that I enjoy.

The personalities just don’t click.

We did better, back when she was the erudite adult, and I was the awe-struck kid.

Not well, but better.

And now… We. Do. NOT. Agree.On.ANYTHING.

And we aren’t just talking tastes. We’re talking real, functional differences.

And my opinion–which is reasonable, in my opinion–is drowned out by the roar of she’s right and I’m wrong.

Families are strange things. Ungainly and inconvenient. And there are so many awkward, ill-fitting pieces that you have to deal with.

A little bit stressed, now. Thinking of grabbing a back pack and hitting the rails. I had a great-great-uncle who rode the rails. During the depression. But I could do that. I don’t mind over the hill bananas, or the smell of trains. I could be a hobo.

Of course, three relatives will insist on coming with me, and another forty will want regular updates, by Skype and E-mail, and the remaining twenty or thirty thousand will talk. Mostly about what I’m doing wrong, and how hurt they are that I didn’t name my boxcar after them.

I just want some silence. Some tiny, little bit of shush to keep me from forgetting… me. Keep me from getting absorbed.


  1. Reply

    Here’s what my excellent therapist said years ago. “Don’t treat it as if it’s real,” meaning you don’t have to respond to what they say/do as if it’s rational, when it’s not. In fact, you don’t have to respond at all. Yeah, I know easier said…but can be done.

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