She Talked about Muse

By Marie Malicki, In Print Secretary

I guess, for as many writers as there are – there are reasons to write.  Maybe it’s to leave a written account, bring clarity to their life, inspire others, experience an award, teach, empty their mind, boost their ego, or perhaps leave a legacy.  Kathy Steffen’s presentation at the September 8, 2012 In Print General Meeting, “Tips, Tricks and Techniques to Focus Your Muse on Her Day Job (Inspiring You!)”, included a handout.  The first line on page four asks this question: “Remember why you wanted to write this book?”  It then goes on to ask, “Why are you writing this book?  What in it is important to you?  “Hmmm,” I thought, focus, inspire your muse!

I am not a “natural” writer, but a major upheaval in my life that started in 2006 roused me to memoir.

I thought if I put the words on paper, it would help me to work through the issues of grief and faith.  Then I found another reason to write.  While attending an amyloidosis support group meeting in New York City I learned that in November, 2008, the VA amended its regulations concerning presumptive service connection for amyloidosis.

I was crushed and EXTREMELY angered to learn forty years after my husband was honorably discharged from the Marines, the possibility existed that his illness may have been caused by an exposure to Agent Orange.  The knowledge of this affected me deeply and charged me with another task – to inform anyone who would read or listen that it is not only the wounded or ill of recent wars that suffer.  Decades after serving, our veterans are falling ill to diseases associated with their service and suffering from the aging effects of old wounds, some requiring long-term care, and like my husband, care for their most basic functions of daily living.

As a citizen of this great nation, I have reaped the blessings of freedom.  I feel an obligation to honor the sacrifice of those undergoing the fatigue of supporting it.  I feel the need to not only advocate for our veterans, but to step up and support their caregivers.  “I can do this” I tell myself.  I can do this with my book!

Even though writing is hard work, for me at least, purposeful rehash of the above has reset a course for action, and reconnected me to my book in a new and fresh way.  For this I thank In Print, and thank you Kathy Steffen for prodding me to once again focus my muse and for rekindling its fire.