I like to play with the image of Ralph the Muse. Before you place the phone call for the guys with the white jackets that tie in the back to come get me, let me be clear: I'm pretty sure there is no Ralph the Muse. The ancient Greeks liked the idea of muses as a source of artistic inspiration. It seemed a reasonable idea: that there would be immortals responsible for placing creative thought in the minds of men. They're usually portrayed as beautiful women.
If I had a muse, it wouldn't be a beautiful woman. My muse is a guy named Ralph. Ralph is about six foot nine, has brown hair and a beard matted with whatever he ate three days ago, and wears a stained, dingy white robe. He keeps a stringless tennis racket handy and beats me over the head with it to pass ideas through this thick skull of mine.
Old Ralph has been silent lately. He's been sulking in my rocking chair, farting occasionally just to let me know he's still around. I've been working...promoting the books, publishing books, and busy with other things. Oh, I've tried to write more chapters in Sexton Sand, and let Ralph whap me with an idea for a new series (one that I haven't yet begun to write.)
Last night, Ralph had Had Enough. He rose from the chair, snuck up on creaky sandals, and hit me hard enough that my eyeballs switched places. In 10 minutes, I outlined 3 chapters of Sexton Sand.
And now I'm ready...just as soon as the big guys gets back to his chair.