Introducing Gretchen, My Inner Censor and Critic

It’s been nearly two years since my Muse, Sarabelle, introduced herself to me. Those of you who have read my occasional reports of Sarabelle’s influence know that she tends to be a bit feisty at times.

This morning as I sat musing about some seldom visited memories from long ago, Sarabelle tapped me on the shoulder and delivered some surprising news: She is only one of the entities on my Inner Writing Team. In short order she introduced me to Gretchen, my Inner Censor/Critic, and Betty, my Inner Editor. Then, as suddenly as she appeared, Sarabelle vanished, leaving me to my own devices to get acquainted with her colleagues.

With a bit of trepidation sparked by her forbidding appearance, I choose to begin with Gretchen. I
’m immediately transported to the hallway of a prison, in front of iron bars across gray cells. The cells are surprisingly bright, lit by a small barred window, high on the wall. Despite the light, there is no color in this scene.

Gretchen stands before me, a study in black and white herself. Her austere black leather outfit and knee-high boots match her stick-straight, raven tresses, in sharp contrast to her pale complexion. Her eccentric outfit bares her right shoulder for ease of motion as she keeps unwanted memories and stories at bay. Measuring no more than five feet in height, and wiry in build, she’s surprisingly small for someone who appears so menacing. She stands facing me, silent and staring, with arms tightly crossed, black whip clenched in one hand, and a huge ring of keys on her other wrist. She is not the sort of person I generally care to deal with, but I must get acquainted. The significance of her sudden appearance is immediately apparent.

“Gretchen, I’m pleased that we are finally meeting. I appreciate all the fine work you’ve done over the years guarding my darker memories. Now I need your assistance in visiting them.”

“That is forbidden!” she barks in reply. “They are locked in here for good reason. They will make you unhappy and hurt you. They can hurt other people. It’s for your own good that I do this!” Her earnest fierceness is almost comical in its intensity.

“I understand. I have no intention of opening the gates and letting these monsters run amok, but I need to talk with them to gain some important insights. I’ve been getting appeal requests from several and need to evaluate their cases.”

She responds with a long string of admonitions warning me of dire consequences, questioning my motives, my judgment, even my writing skills, and generally tries to scare me off. My resolve begins to weaken, but then I recall why I’m here. Those memories are part of me, and I’m determined to know them better, liberating the ones that can be absolved. Many have served their sentences and are due for release. Others may have gotten a bum rap to begin with. I realize that reason will not work. I’ll have to pull rank to get past her.

“Thank you Gretchen. No one can fault you for lack of dedication. Here is a list of four memories I wish to visit today. Please bring them to me in my study. I’ll expect them to arrive in five minutes. That will be all.” With that, I return to my study, settling into a comfortable chair with a cup of fresh coffee and a pad of paper, ready to proceed with the interviews.

Right now I have my work cut out for me dealing with those old memories. I’ll find Betty some other time.

Write now: about your muse, Inner Censor, or Inner Editor. Do these entities have names? What do they look like? How do they act? What do they say when you talk to them? If you’ve never had a conversation with any of then, do some writing practice in dialog form and see what emerges. You are bound to be as surprised as I was at what emerges.

1 comment :

Tara said...

I love your stories of Sarabelle :)