Sitting on…I mean down…with your Muse
Let me give you a little history to put the following conversation into perspective. I reside in a very stinky, wet place known as The Swamp. Not only do we have roaming zombies, a snarky Raven, the irascible Swamp Thing, but my neighbors moonlight as a critique group and have self titled themselves The 7 Evil Dwarves. I got to choose my own code name, and me being me, Wicked won hands down.
We have a lot of little local dens of iniquity including a dive where our particular crowd tends to gather known as Filet Your Own Deli. It’s actually a favorite gathering place for a periphery group generally known as The Muses. However they’ve been known to be called other names, but I’d probably get in trouble for saying them out loud so we’ll skip that part. My Muse is a bit…how shall I say this? Bipolar? Scary? Sarcastic? I think all of those start to scratch the surface, but I digress.
Often friends will ask how do you come up with your story ideas? Do you ever get stuck? What happens when life gets in the way? Answers: Brain Damage helps spark ideas (especially the kind that comes from banging your head against a wall). Yes, I have become a master of slogging through quicksand at neck level, and when life interferes you start to go a little nuts (more than normal!).
This time of the year is crazy for anyone, lots of expectations and to-do lists that would rival the Amazon River. This conversation with my Muse evolved during one such episode and I thought I’d share it with you!
I hope you enjoy it and once the insanity of the season begins to slow I hope you all remember to enjoy the holidays!
It took a bit to chase her down, but I finally found her hanging out with this white-haired old guy with a tool belt who was muttering about procrastination and ravens, down by the Filet My Own Deli just passed the old motel. Due to the truly evil looks cast my way by her companion as I politely interrupted a truly desultory conversation with a sharp object, just to get my point across, this was going to be one tough conversation.
Me: leaning against the rickety table covered in unmentionable substances. “So, where you’ve been?”
Her: ignoring the pointed object rudely inserted under her chin. “Shouldn’t that be my question to you?”
Me: “Seriously? Did you happen to miss the massive black hold of chaos I trip into?”
Her: doing the wicked eyebrow arch. “Like I care? Really, Wicked, if you want to get a little you got to give a little.”
Me: putting some distance between my sharp edged blade and her neck, it’s just too tempting sometimes. I swear she does this on purpose. “What? You want me to apologize for life getting in the way?” Not that guilt isn’t chewing a big hole in my stomach already, thank you very much. I take the seat white hair tool belt left and start tracing the old carving on the table.
Her: looking her superior best, I’ve always wondered how she manages not to get swamp crap all over those sweet thigh high boots. “Should I start spouting pithy little quotes about how life happens?” Her lips curl into a delicate snarl of disgust. “I’ve given you some damn good ideas over the years, girl. Do you expect me to follow through on them too?” She leans forward and I catch a whiff of some exotic spice. “I uphold my end of the bargain, how about you hold up yours?”
Me: holding up a single digit as I struggle to maintain eye contact because no way in hell am I letting her win this one. “I have been, oh mighty bitchiness, but you’ve been awfully quiet the last few months.”
Her: is that a blush I see working its way up her sharp cheekbones? Ohhhh, it is! Yeah, I’ve hit a nerve. “Maybe you should limit your guest list to our little get-togethers, it’s been a little crowded lately.” She leans forward. “I’m glad you got rid of that annoying little leech who was sucking your monetary well dry. What was his name?”
Me: in total agreement. “Cam.” Shrugging my shoulders. “It took some doing but me and the clan we managed to boot him out.”
Her: nodding. “A move in the right direction.”
Silence descends. Let me correct myself, not really silence since I can hear Eerie’s zombies shuffling around out in the woods, Mischievous Raven heckling some poor lost soul trampling after Will O’ Wisp, and the Swamp Thing is doing yard work. Again. I take a good look at my muse. Now that I’m not trying to move the clan into better accommodations, have managed to boot out a few leeches like Cam, I realize she has a right to be pissed at me. She hasn’t been my priority lately. As a matter of fact, I’ve been pushing her further and further back because “something more important” has come up. I tend to forget, she is something important. If I don’t keep her happy, no one’s happy. Time to buck up and pay the piper. Apologies suck.
Me: no struggling to make eye contact now. “Hey, Muse.” She glances up, face still. “Sorry.” And I mean it.
She nods, because there’s not much else to say. “We back on for tomorrow?”
Me: ignoring the niggling threads of fear and trepidation about getting back on this roller coaster ride. “Yeah, same place, same time.” I push to my feet. Time to head back home. “Think you can convince Raine and Syn to join us?”
Her: darkly amused smile lighting her features and an evil sparkle in her eye. “Oh, I think that can be arranged.”
© 2011 by Jami Gray