Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere



It’s blank.

The wall, I mean. Well, sometimes my head, too . . .

Not my writing office. I’m at my dad’s place while he’s off galavanting with his brother on an Alaskan cruise. I’ve got a deadline, and this is my opportunity to write without distraction.

It’s also another opportunity to be in the house I grew up in. Except now so much has changed. My sister-in-law decided to “stage” the house (which my dad is in the process of trying to sell), which, according to her, means getting rid of anything personal like family photos. And last weekend we moved a bunch of big stuff (entertainment center, bed, TV, etc) to the townhouse my dad is renting.

I was here last weekend, and it felt, well, . . . like I came too late. Like I should have thought to take pictures of the way everything was before this “staging” business. If you’ve gone through the process of watching the house you grew up in be prepared to sell, you know what I mean.

“You came here to focus, love.”

What the hell? My Muse pulls up a chair–where did he find that chair?

“Don’t look at me like that.” He leans back in a beanbag-type chair I’ve never seen before and know my dad never had. Fingers laced together, he puts his hands behind his head and crosses his long legs at the ankles. “You’re here to write. I’m your Muse. Get over it.”

“Where did that chair come from? Not that I’m complaining, but . . .” Maybe I am complaining, because it’s a distraction. Like his “Star Wars” lounge pants and Millennium Falcon t-shirt aren’t distracting at all. ๐Ÿ˜‰

“I brought it with me, and you are complaining.” He cranes his neck around to check out the whole room. “Well, it’s bare. That’s a good thing. Now you can focus, which is why you’re here in the first place.”

He’s right. It’s just . . . Everything is gone. The pictures of the grandkids. The pictures of my mom. The pictures of me and my siblings with our families. I can’t stop the tears. Not yet. I’m grieving.

“Scoot over, love.” My Muse nudges me from the middle of the love seat to one side. He settles beside me, but doesn’t put his arm around my shoulders, though I kinda wish he would. “I know you want to give your attention to this loss business, but you’ve got a deadline coming up. You’ve been doing good this month. I’m proud of you.”

“I should have been doing good in April, too.” Except real life happens. “I am SO far behind.”

“Which is why you’re here.” He leans against me. “Take the time during your breaks to, what did A say? Say good-bye to every room. But only during breaks. You are here to write.”

He’s right. Deep breath. “I’m going to finish this round of edits this weekend.”

“And I’m here to make sure you do. Besides, it’s supposed to rain today. No excuses.”

So, I’ve got all day to write–except for a couple hours this morning when my BFF from high school is stopping by. I try to catch up with her whenever I’m in town. In fact, last year when I was here she had an awesome “Are you kidding? This really happened?” story. I told her I was going to use it in a book; it’ll be part of the plot of my rural mystery (on the list to do after Book 2).

So, last week I posted plants, and someone (you know who you are), complained about a glaring lack of cat pics. Well, be careful what you wish for ๐Ÿ˜€

Have a great writing weekend!


Author: Julie Holmes, author

A fiction writer since elementary school (many years ago), and NaNoWriMo annual participant for over a decade, I have been published in small press magazines such as "Fighting Chance" and "The Galactic Citizen". I write adult mystery with a touch of romance, mystery with extrasensory elements, contemporary fantasy, and epic fantasy, and I'm represented by the fabulous Cynthia Zigmund of Second City Publishing Services. My debut novel, "Murder in Plane Sight", has been released by Camel Press (an imprint of Coffeetown Press/Epicenter Press). In real life, I am a technical writer and empty-nester with a wonderful hubby, one cat (what writer doesn't have cats??), two dogs, six chickens, and more chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits than any garden should have to deal with. My garden, our hobby farm, and Nature's annual seasons are some of my muses.

26 thoughts on “F-O-C-U-S

  1. Julie, I feel with you. It is hard to see your childhood home “styled” to an inch of its life.
    Nothing saying it was a home, just a structure.
    Good you have this handsome muse with you. ๐Ÿ’• .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Miriam! It’s tough, but life moves on. At least there are the memories. And yes, good thing my Muse is here … er, maybe not. He’s got his bullwhip in hand ๐Ÿ˜ฎ I’d better get to work! ๐Ÿ˜€ Have a wonderful weekend!


  2. I love those ‘photos! Thanks for sharing. And it can be a very sad jolt when you see the difference between what you remember from childhood, and what is now. Wishing you well, and I hope your editing goes smoothly.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mr. Muse was very helpful!
    Take care, Julie —

    Neil S.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ohhhhhhhhh mmmyyyyyyy gooooooossssshhhhhhh!!!! First of all, have you been dying waiting for me to see this? Secondly, could you hear the squeals of delight from my children (okay, and of course me) all the way from there? This was one of those posts where I had lots of things to comment on, so instead of trying to hold them all in my head, I thought I’d scroll down, start my comment, scroll back up, continue reading, etc. But then I saw the cats and everything else fell out of my mind when I opened my mouth to say, “Awwwwww!!!” Careful what I wish for? Pah! I should’ve wished for it sooner! The girls and I were trying to decide in which picture Zoey looks the fluffiest, but then it didn’t matter b/c the last pic was clearly posted last purposefully, as it is undoubtedly the cutest picture of them all. So very very sweeeeettt… Awwwww. Oh, whoops. You got me started again.
    And since I still have this in my ctrl c: “where did he find that chair?” I can remember that I was going to comment that I LOLed at that one. Everything else I wanted to say? Who knows?
    Love love love! I was actually wondering if I hit the like button several times if it would keep liking and unliking but showing you that I hit like repeatedly. I’m going to try it. You can let me know. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL!! You are so funny ๐Ÿ˜› I can actually picture you and your girls ๐Ÿ˜€ *still laughing* And nope, I only see the one like. You do realize you owe me some cat pictures of your own when you get the kitten, right? Right? As soon as I read you were scrolling I knew you’d get distracted by the pics ๐Ÿ˜€

      Show the pics to Frankenstein–er, I mean your husband, so you can sway him to your side. I mean, how else do you fill up a blog post when you don’t know what to write? ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Oh, damn. he’s back. With the fedora (which really doesn’t go well with the Millennium Falcon t-shirt and Star Wars lounge pants, but hey, I’m not the fashion police) and bullwhip. And here I thought I’d get a longer break. Catch ya later! Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Julie, Zoey is a beauty. I love to see cute cuddly cat pictures cause I have dogs! So sad you missed your childhood home the “way it was” before the “staging.” Made me think about my old homestead. Too many years back and no photos, but i still remember the rooms and some of the furniture. I like your Mr. Muse. He’ll help you through this, and focus on writing! Have a productive weekend. Christine

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Christine! Zoey was out on the deck yesterday in the perfect “sleeping the afternoon away” pose, but by the time I got a camera she’d woken up and moved. Rats.

      Speaking of my Muse, he’s giving me the stink eye. I thought I had a longer break, but apparently he doesn’t agree. Have a wonderful weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Aww…Julie you definitely made up for the previous lack of cat photos! These are adorable and the last one of the hug/sleep hugs is so sweet!

    It must be so hard for you to be back at your childhood home, seeing it bare and empty! Styled is often at the best of times, barren, minimalist and I feel for you, missing the comfort of the familiar, the forever. Follow the advice of your your wise Muse: grieve in your breaks, try to concentrate on your work in between … it sounds as if you need it more than ever – a place to escape all the pain. Hugs xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Annika! It was tough this weekend, but I managed to keep my grief in check until I took a break. And yes, bare and empty = missing the comfort of home. Didn’t get as much editing done as I’d hoped, but I’m going back this coming holiday weekend. That deadline is come up fast. Have a wonderful week!


  7. Aww, who is Zoe cuddling with at the bottom? The pictures are so sweet. I didn’t point out that you had a glaring absence of kitty photos, but I always do a Snoopy dance when you post them.

    I’m sorry you’re having a rough time in your Dad’s house with all those memories. You’re sister sounds like she wants the place sold quickly so your Dad can move on with his life. It’s hard letting go of the past. As someone who’s worked in real estate for nearly 30 years it’s true what they say about family photos, but you don’t need to strip every room of every photo. And by staging I’m assuming you don’t mean she rented furniture but tried to make the house more of a vanilla envelope that anyone could imprint with their own furnishings and designs. It does work, but is hard for the seller, especially after a life time there.

    Let your muse distract you. Spend time with your BFF from your high school years. Have a good cry if you need to, but never let go of the memories. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Mae! Zoey is cuddling with our other cat, Socks, who went MIA a year or two ago. She went outside (as they do) but never came back one night. We miss her; she was a cuddle-bug.

      I think my SIL just likes to do things, and yes, maybe she does want the place sold; my dad didn’t want to take his phone on his trip, but my SIL insisted because the house is on the market. Sounds like she’s decided(?) she could help a decision along if a good offer comes by. Yeah, we won’t go there.

      Had a good visit with my BFF; it’s so cool how we can pick up where we left off the last time, even if last time was a year or two ago. Had a few good cries, the grief is still coming. Didn’t get as much editing done as I’d hoped, but I’m depending on my Muse to keep me focused (even if I argue with him ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) Have a great week!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks for the kitty pictures. I personally never complain about that. Plus, what a beautiful orange cat and friend!

    It is hard when the childhood house sells…and the empty walls are so loud! So many memories in each nook and cranny! Hopefully your muse can ease that into words. Hope you have a good week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! Yes, there is something about kitty pictures โค

      Yes, empty walls are loud. I didn't expect to go through that grief, or the grief at the loss of my mother again. At least my Muse is trying to keep me on track. Have a great week, D!


  9. Adorable cat pics, Julie. They bring lots of smiles after hearing about your grieving for “the way things were.” I can relate, immensely. Places become part of us and saying goodbye is really hard. In the meantime, focus, even if the muse is hanging around in his Star Wars lounge wear! Good luck with your writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, saying goodbye is tough. Even my sister’s kids, who live in WI and only travel to my dad’s place a couple times a year, are having a tough time of it.

      Heh, seeing him in Star Wars lounge wear is distracting, but funny. He looks a little out of place. He’s more of a plain t-shirt and flannel pajama pants guy ๐Ÿ˜€ Have a great week, Diana!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Ugh I feel for you…leaving a home with so many emotions and memories that no childhood pictures would ever be able remove after their absence. My dad lives in the house where I grew up and I canโ€™t even imagine not having that place to return to.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I feel your pain, Julie, at the loss of your childhood home. It would be agony to me to be there with the personal items removed – waiting, waiting. Good thing you have a determined muse, or you would be curled up with the cats. Instead, Iโ€™m sure you were able to focus and get some work done. I am allergic to cats, so love to see them from afar. If I could feel that content just once in my life, Iโ€™d be happy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Molly! It’s hard, heart-breaking in a lot of ways. And yes, at least my Muse has got my back. He’s been watching me with the stink-eye to make sure I’m working and not goofing off. As if! ๐Ÿ˜€

      Sorry to hear you’re allergic to cats. I was just on FB yesterday and saw some ADORABLE kitten videos. I started to think kitten therapy might be nice–curl up with a tiny fuzzy that purrs ๐Ÿ™‚

      Have a great rest of your week!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve thought of getting a siamese cat since I’ve heard these don’t invoke allergic reactions. Maybe when I’m too old to leave my rocker I’ll do that as part of my ‘cat lady’ transformation. I’ll get an even dozen if the first one works out. ๐Ÿ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

  12. I had a sister in law who did that–threw out all my mother-in-law’s stuff when she was moving (after her husband’s death left her with a ton of unexpected money). My MIL had a fresh start but it ripped the soul out of the family. I’d like to say she was well-meaning but she was just evil.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Man, that would be terrible! I think my SIL had good intentions, it just was a shock; had I known that’s what she was going to do, I would’ve made a special trip to get pictures before she “erased” everything. She did something similarly “helpful” when she reorganized my mom’s pantry. We got used to it, but it was annoying.


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