When we love an author’s work, we want to know everything about them. Where they get their inspiration. How they learned to write like they write. What they like for breakfast. Their favorite flower. I can’t tell you all those things about Liz Garton Scanlon but I can tell what quote shores her up as a writer.
It is this poem by William Stafford.
When I Met My Muse
I glanced at her and took my glasses
off–they were still singing. They buzzed
like a locust on the coffee table and then
ceased. Her voice belled forth and the
sunlight bent. I felt the ceiling arch, and
knew that nails up there took a new grip
on whatever they touched. “I am your own
way of looking at things,” she said. “When
you allow me to live with you, every
glance at the world around you will be
a sort of salvation.” And I took her hand.
It didn’t surprise me that Liz finds solace not in a quote but in a poem because she is a poet as well as a beloved children’s book author. When I asked her, “Why this poem? Why do you read it daily? What about this poem feeds your soul as a writer?”
She said, “So often, as writers, we think it is the writing itself–or the business of writing–that is driving us mad. The work and the imperfection, the waiting and the rejections. This poem reminds me daily, that it is actually the opposite of all that. It is the writing–the muse and the magic–that keeps us from going mad. Writing is a solace. A salvation…”