I remember my writing ritual as a kid. I’d rush my homework (well, rush most of it and leave what I figured I could get away with not doing), then would open a Word document, put on some music and start writing.
I couldn’t just have any music playing, some artists worked better than others. Was never a fan of rock or Bjork. I gave hip-hop a chance, but my writing, already cuss-ridden, got a whole lot more profane. After a bit of trial and error, I settled for upbeat, unoffensive pop. So long as the music played, the writing flowed. And the artist who got the most spins? I’m not ashamed of it — but judging by the looks I get from people I tell, I should be — the artist was Dannii Minogue.
I remember making a joke about it at one of my first speaking events at the State Library of Victoria. To this day, co-speaker Michael Gerard Bauer pokes fun at me for liking the other Minogue, and worse, for admitting it.
There are two reasons why I think Dannii Minogue’s Neon Nights album worked so well to alleviate any writer’s block. One, it was released around the time that my writing passion became an obsession, so it got most of its spins while I wrote feverishly. I guess my body associates the album with writing now. And two, that album was a gift I received from the now-deceased friend I went on to dedicate Loathing Lola to. The album reminded me of the morning he surprised me with it at school (and you know, back when we didn’t have jobs, someone spending $20 on someone else’s birthday was kind of a big deal), and of him, and it just brings with it a wealth of positive feeling. And just playing it, I felt good. I felt inspired.
So, you could say, Dannii Minogue acted as a kind of muse.
I attended the launch for Dannii’s new 3-part documentary for FOX8, Dannii Minogue: Style Queen, during the week. The series covers everything from her writing her autobiography, to her pregnancy and her launching her new fashion label. I decided that while I had her in close proximity, I was going to introduce myself to my muse.
Of course, all while hiding the CD-shaped bulge in my left pants pocket.
So I approached Dannii, and we spoke for a little while (read: a couple of minutes). She signed my CD, and I eventually worked up the courage to tell her that I was a children’s author, and that her album fuelled my writing. It inspired me.
And she didn’t brush me off. First, she gushed. Then, she joked: “‘Put The Needle On It’… inspired… a children’s book?” We laughed, I told her it’s young-adult. She lamented not having a genre for that age group when she was growing up. I asked to take a photo. She said, “Sure.” She put her arm around my back. I, having an epic out-of-body experience, returned the favour.
And then it was somebody else’s turn. We said good-bye. The odds are, she’s forgotten about me already. But you know what? For three minutes, I had my muse’s complete attention. And in those three minutes, I got to say thank you, albeit breathily and briefly, for her helping me achieve my dream.