Making It With Your Muse

How do you get good at anything? Practice.

How do you get great? Obsession—Practice most all the time.

Pick any famous author, artist, musician, and they’ll all have obsession in common. And while we, the public, enjoy the fruits of their creative labor, those closest to these individuals were/are generally left wanting.

Charles Schulz, creator of the Peanuts comic strip, “was an indifferent and often inattentive father and husband.”

Rod Serling, of Twilight Zone fame, “worked 12 hours a day seven days a week, [and] his wife, Carol, tended to their daughters, Jodi and Anne.”

Adrienne Armstrong, wife of Billy Joe Armstrong of Greenday said of her husband after the release of the album American Idiot, “I think it challenged us to a new level, pushed us pretty far, the farthest I ever want to go.” The creatives above are all men. All married and all had/have children.

Now lets explore a few famous women.

The romance novelist Jane Austen never married. She was, in fact, ‘relieved in later life to have avoided the pitfalls of married life, not least the huge risks of childbirth, “all the business of Mothering.”’

Georgia O’Keeffe, the surrealist artist “wanted to have children but agreed with him [her husband, Alfred Steiglitz] that motherhood was incompatible with her art. She needed to focus all of her attention on her painting.”

Oprah Winfrey, the media mogul has never married, “the very idea of what it means to be a wife and the responsibility and sacrifice that carries — I wouldn’t have held that very well.” And she never had children. “If I had kids, my kids would hate me. They would have ended up on the equivalent of the “Oprah” show talking about me; because something [in my life] would have had to suffer and it would’ve probably been them.”

Ms. Winfrey had the guts to address the unvarnished, unspoken truth when she referred to the “responsibility and sacrifice,” in being a partner and parent. The investment of time, physical and psychic energy it takes to keep a marriage vital, and the even greater demands of being a conscientious parent, interferes, and often waylays the creative process.

Men have historically been the breadwinners in the family environment. And while this trend is slowly changing, the fact is women who seek personal excellence, especially in the arts, often have to choose between pursuing greatness and being, at least, an available partner and parent. Even today, men rarely have to make this choice. Regardless of this disparity, anyone, man or woman, obsessed with becoming great [at anything] should recognize the ‘sacrifice’ and costs to pursuing brilliance.

As a wife, mother, and a writer, my creative muse is constantly vying for prominence over the needs of my husband and especially my children. When my kids were babies, the creative process encountered fewer distractions. I could stay rapt in story, run dialog in my head while changing diapers or pushing them on the swing at the park. Small kids, small problems. Big kids, big issues. Now the parent to a tween and teen, my siren is often overwhelmed by the very real traumas and trials of adulthood my children face every day. To help them navigate these tumultuous times, I question, probe, even invade their space to stay connected, be there for them as a sounding board, a trusted confidant to lean on, to envelope them in a hug and hold them when they’re falling.

I chose to marry, to have kids. And while I willingly choose to be present, available for my family, forfeiting the relentless pursuit of my creativity is a battle I engage in daily. Much of my fiction focuses on this internal war, as in my novel Reverb, through James Whren’s obsession with his music, the cost to the lives he touched and the price he eventually paid absorbed in making it with his muse. My recent novel, Disconnected, explores the propaganda of the 1960s still being sold today, as Rachel struggles with the reality that we can’t ‘have it all,’ be everything we want to be, and still be there for our kids and family.

We glorify the brilliant author, the renown artist, successes in business, often secretly wish to be one of the famous. But to become great at anything means obsessively working at the job or craft, honing a skill set with relentless practice, which is the fundamental reason why genius is so rarely achieved. The price those who solely engage with their creative muse must pay is actualizing a full and balanced life.

4 Star Book Review for Reverb

Reverb romantic suspense4 Stars for Reverb from BookfriEnds. Very detailed!! Check it out:

Reverb, romantic suspense novel Excerpt

Reading Between the Wines Bookclub hosing an excerpt of Reverb. Check it out!…

Reverb romantic suspense

J. Cafesin Author Interview‬ on Wicca Witch 4 Book Blog

Thanks, Amanda for having me on your ‪#‎bookblog‬. Latest ‪#‎AuthorInterview‬ on Wicca Witch 4 Book Blog:

recommended reading

REVERB is #1 novel for 2013

REVERB is #1 for 2013 out of 350 book reviews by Angie on Read Our LIps! How #cool is that!! Thanks Angie. Glad you liked the novel!!

5 Kisses

5 Kisses for Reverb from Read Our Lips Book Reviews!!

#fridayreads New #bookreview for Reverb from Read Our Lips: 5 Kisses!!

5 Kisses

Book Trailer for Reverb is up!

Finally got the trailer for Reverb up. Check it out…

Romantic Suspense

Wow! Two great new reviews for Reverb!

“Reverb” By J. Cafesin was a “love story, a psychological thriller paced with romantic suspense.” I truly could not have said it any better because this was truly a story of redemption. I enjoyed the first POV from James Michael Whren and the other characters are in third person POV.. all giving the reader a good story. The author was able to create a emotional intensive feel that ring high from the ‘backstories’ on to a much needed happier ending that we were given in the end. The reader was able to feel the tension that radiated from James, his dad and the other characters to a point of making it seem you are there in the midst of it all. You will definitely find yourself being brought into James’s world. This author was able to use all of this through the ‘accusations, deep talks, revelations, and the many arguments only to bring out to the reader a good intriguing dialogue. In the end I can only say I thought “Reverb” was a awesome read that I could not put down until the end.

However, be ready for a few scenes that maybe a little ‘graphic in nature and languages that push the boundaries’ for some of the faint hearted, but still I did like the way this author presented it all.

“James Wren is brilliant, beautiful, wealthy, and taken – with himself, or more precisely, his genius for creating music. But on the evening of his brother’s funeral, his father turns James’ life upside down.” This is where the story will take off and James meets widowed Elisabeth and her young son Cameron. Now, to get the rest of it all I will say to get the rest of the story you must pick up “Reverb” to see how this author makes it all clear to the reader.

The characters: James Whren, Edward Whren and Elisabeth Whitestone and her son Cameron were really the main characters who were colorful, real, even believable. However, for some of these characters you will be able to feel the ‘angst, anger, frustration, pain and betrayal’ that will be all up into this interesting story.

I agree that “Reverb” was “fast paced, fascinating, shocking but most of all a riveting read” that I would recommend to you as some compelling story.

I have looked at the book cover many times trying to figure it out…then it came to me…. “Reverb” is all about James… who was of “echoes, repercussions, consequences, aftermath fallout to backlash.” Well done author J. Cafesin!

Wow, I’m at awe! This was thinking outside the box (my prude box). A definite unforgettable tale and splendid storytelling. I was captivated from the very start and when I got to that (don’t what to spoil it for you), particular adult content , I yelp, “Oh no!”. My mind immediately thought that this was going in the direction that I didn’t want it to go ..just not my genre. But I kept reading and glad I did. It so happens that the incident was not to tantalize but clearly the opposite. It was crucial to showcase it in order to get into the source of James’ mentality.

James’ story was remarkable because his odyssey to finding meaning in life was cause to reflect. Life definitely throws us wretched circumstances and those times can put us in a solipsism kind of thinking. In James’ case, fear “reverberated” (like his music) in his heart and motivated his steps. Although my fear is different from James’, I can certainly relate to the intensity and self-centered thought process. I want to throw the towel, I want to hide somewhere, I want to punch something, ..I want an eraser! Then we are rescued by love ones, a spiritual being, or what have you and then and only then comes the understanding that as horrible as that was, we’re stronger for the lesson it taught. That in turn puts you in the path to a happier and fulfilling you. That was part of the message I got from this read. Another was the saving graces that family plays in our psyche. A love story in the end. Edgy and dark getting there so it did leave me with a bit of a negative energy.

This novel delivered main characters that poured out their souls, supporting characters that really added richness to the story, backdrops that followed the suspense well, meaningful lines, and a life affirming message. Well crafted, Ms Cafesin!

I only recommend this book to mature readers because of its strong adult content.

My quoteables:
“You’d figure out that love wasn’t going to consume you, but complete you.” (1710)
“Yeah. Atheism is efficient that way. But I envy your faith. You’re never alone, or without purpose.” (2474)
“The thing is, living is all about feeling. Feeling pleasure, …pain …Angry, sad, hurt, scared, compassion, passion, love– letting yourself feel these things because in them lies the spectacular richness of being alive …” (pauses are my own, 2640)
“My body reverberates with the pounding of my heart, fear suddenly gripping my throat and suffocating.” (2667)
“Who you love may be chance, but how you love clearly isn’t” (4384)
“This is all we will ever really possess, James. Use it wisely.” (5354)