Don’t Lose Your Muchness

Don’t lose your Muchness

A friend emailed that single phrase to me this morning.  I don’t know if he was trying to tell me something, or if he’d been struck with an overwhelming urge to quote the Mad Hatter.  Frankly, it could go either way…

Don't lose your Muchness, Hilary

I’ve been scattered lately.  Roughly six weeks ago, I took a step toward protecting my emotional and mental well-being.  It wasn’t an easy decision to make, as the end result caused heartache for someone else.  However, taking care of myself was a priority.

In the time since, I’ve clung to my blog posts (and the comments I receive from my few readers…thank you!!!) and my craft reading like a lifeline.  Work on my novel slipped to the side in all the hoopla.

That situation was finally resolved at the end of February, followed immediately by a long weekend trip to California.  Now that I’m back, the uproar is at an end.

That may have been the “something” he was trying to say…to pick up the pieces and move forward.  And I’m doing that, happily and peacefully.  My writing is back on track.

Or my friend really could have been struck with the Mad Hatter bug.  Anything is possible.

(And Johnny Depp is hot, even in strange makeup and bright orange hair…)

Regardless of the intent of that email, it set off a chain reaction of random thoughts and quirkiness that is carrying me through what could have been a humdrum Wednesday on a wave of silliness and joy.  The phrase, “Don’t lose your Muchness” has flashed with neon brightness in the forefront of my mind all day and has eliminated any potential awkwardness I might have felt when caught in the middle of any one of the many weird things I do.

Muchness, in my mind, carries a vast definition, including strength of character, a sense of humor even in the face of darkness, courage to work through fear, compassion, and an ability to connect with others.

It is also defined as the leaps writers make to see the extraordinary in the ordinary.

Every situation, every opportunity, every bit of drama (some drama can be a good thing) presents the possibility for a plot twist, a gripping scene, a remarkable character.  It’s all in how we look at things.

In Monday’s post, I rhapsodized about my recent visit to see family and the freedom of a child’s imagination.  Muchness includes retaining childlike awe and wonder at the world around us, even in the midst of the mundane.  Sliding back into the daily grind could easily stifle creativity.  The day job, the chores, the bill paying, the dental hygienist channeling the Marquis de Sade, all have the ability to slam the door shut and hide the key on free thinking.  Embracing our Muchness, however, holds a greater power and keeps that key firmly in hand.

Whenever I feel like I’m losing my Muchness, I call up an image on the movie screen in my head that my parents shared with me when I was young.

Originally, I was to be named Victoria, but my cousin was born a month before I was.  She was given Victoria as her middle name.  My parents didn’t want to be seen as copy-cats and had to come up with something else.  They chose my name mere weeks before my arrival when a shaft of light illuminated “Saint Hilary” in my Mother’s prayer-book during Sunday mass (Mom swears this is true…I have my doubts, but who am I to dispute it?  It’s not like I was here yet.).  He was the patron saint of snake bites and, apparently, a writer.  (I didn’t know the writer part until I looked it up for this post…talk about serendipity!!)

They said they pictured a “Hilary” as this tall, willowy creature striding through the heather, dressed in tweeds.  I have no idea if they were serious, because, hey, my whole family is a little nuts.  Regardless, this image has stayed with me for decades and epitomizes the definition of Muchness I spelled out above, even though the real me doesn’t look anything like that picture.

Tall?  Willowy?  Total delusion.  Everyone in my family is vertically challenged.

Tweed?  No.  Just the word seems itchy.  I prefer tank tops and shorts.

Striding through the heather?  I like that part.  I could totally do that.  I think it’s why I’m drawn to all things Scottish and Irish, so I someday I will take a long walk across a heather-filled meadow.

Regardless of the correlation between the image and the reality, the vision is a Muse of Muchness for me and I’ve promised myself she’ll end up as a character in a novel I’ll write.

In the meantime, my Muchness and I are going to go enjoy the arrival of spring in Chicago.

How do you hang onto your muchness?


9 thoughts on “Don’t Lose Your Muchness

  1. This post for some reason hit me right between the eyes. I know that in school we were never that close but I feel like you have a line of sight into my head and you have given me so much to think about and so much enjoyment. Can’t wait to read the final product.


    • Patti,
      I feel like I’m achieving some success as a writer if I can bring you enjoyment and things to think about. That means a lot to me. Thank you so much for the kind words. If (when!) I ever get a novel published, I’ll be sure to let you know! 🙂


      • Never a doubt that it will be “when” and not “if”. I only wish that I had the courage and the strength that you have.


      • Wow. I’m humbled. Thank you for the compliment. I don’t feel like I have a choice to do anything BUT be courageous and strong. If I don’t try, I’ll never know if I would have succeeded. And I have to know one way or the other. Fear is not something I’m willing to give in to.


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