F*** You Muriel!!
On silencing your inner critic
As a writer, I often have many voices roaming around inside my head (and no, I don’t mean it in the crazy way). My characters, who suddenly decide that midnight is the perfect time to tell me this incredibly personal and important truth that I now have to fit into their story; random thoughts, and ideas for new stories, and then, there’s Muriel.
Muriel is the name I gave to my inner critic. I picture her a little like the granny in George’s Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl. Toothless, crooked and bent, with grey, thinning hair that looks a little as if a bird has laid a nest in it. She walks around on a walking stick, so bent over that she has a permanent hump, and a neck that looks like it has a permanent crick in it.
If that image wasn’t bad enough, there’s her voice. Angry, antagonistic and grating. She’s never kind. In fact, the kindest thing she ever does is go to sleep occasionally. Very occasionally.
Most of the time, however, she likes to talk incessantly, berating me and telling me how useless I am and how I should really just give up on writing because I’ll never be any good anyway.
There are odd days when she’s quieter, but most of the time, she likes to taunt me and tease me; and if I don’t listen, she’ll start to shout, sometimes so loud that it makes my head hurt.
The thing is, that I know what she wants is for me to be silent. She wants me to not write. She wants me to keep all of those words wrapped up inside me; locked inside my head.
But this is my act of defiance. I will not let her silence me. I will not stop writing just because she wants me to. She doesn’t get to call the shots any more. It is at this point that I’ve decided to pack Muriel’s bags and move her into her new home.
I was going to shove her off a cliff, but Shaunta Grimes suggested that I might want to keep her around for ‘revision time’, so I have placed her in a nice, ornate, iron (just to make sure her black magick can’t penetrate the bars), bird cage. Every now and then, I like to give it a little swing and watch her stumble (No, it’s not cruel. Not after the way she’s treated me lately). Sometimes, I put a blanket over her, hoping that the dark will lull her to sleep and stop her squawking.
Either way, I have found a place for Muriel for now, and this is my way of saying “F*** You Muriel! I will write, because it is what I was born to do. I will write because it is as vital to me as breath, and I will write because it is my purpose, and you will not stop me. You will not silence me, no matter how hard you try.”
I will end with this quote by the philosopher Descartes, which perfectly sums up why Muriel must be stopped at all costs:
“I write, therefore I am.”
Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.