Thursday, March 14, 2013

Dueling Muses

It's one thing when they don't arrive for days, even weeks on end, leaving a writer wringing his hands, pacing the floor and searching the sky for a dose of inspiration. It's another thing altogether when they tag-team you, showing up at once with a partner in tow - each with a very different agenda. I'm referring to the all-elusive Muse, of course. By now you're well aware of the role she plays in the life of us writerly-type folks. With a wave or a whisper our Muses are known to bestow a much-needed plot twist, a long-sought-after line, or Yureka! a brand new idea. Or two.

So there I was minding my own very busy business, doing my thang as it were, when these lovely creatures decided to grace me with their presence. Twice. Now, far be it for me to look a gift-muse in the mouth. Never happen. And I'm not complaining but, the thing of it is, one idea is quite enough for me to handle these days. Yet, they each presented their case with the finesse of those ole' fiddle players in that Charlie Daniels' song about the devil and Georgia. (Yeah you know the one."Boy let me tell ya what..") It went something like this:

Muse 1 - Here you go, Writer Girl, (they don't seem to know my name.) I have for you this Wonderful Thing. (Muse sets the new idea down carefully on the desk. It sparkles like fresh-fallen snow in the sunlight.) Treat it gently. You should definitely work on this one right away. You're most welcome.

Muse 2 - But, Writer Girl, I think you should see this. (Second Muse jockeys for position, placing her equally shiny New Idea down before me.) Notice how it glitters, it's fine curves and perfect angles. All you have to do is set it free, as quickly as possible. You're also most welcome.

Muse 1 - Well? Which will it be? Mine or hers?

Muse 2 - Yes, and I urge you to choose with care!

Me: Wow, Highnessess. This is so generous of you, both, but I'm afraid I couldn't possibly take on two different projects right now. I simply don't have the time. If it's all the same to you girls, um, your Grace's, I'll take one for now and save the other for later.

(It appeared I had angered them. Each Creature took a turn glowering at me and then at each other. I'm guessing they didn't take kindly to be told to wait their turn in line. At once it was a flurry of wings - each Muse adjusting their Idea again and again, edging them closer and closer to my face until I saw nothing but a big blob of blur. Sensing the impending doom, I reached for my reading glasses and studied each of the gifts, quick as I was able.)

Muse 1: This is absurd. I'll just take my Wonderful Thing and be on my way.

Muse 2: Well, my New Idea and I don't need a brick house to fall on our heads. We're out of here.

Before I could protest, in the snap of a golden finger they were gone. Just like that. Easy come - easy go? Not so much. I might have panicked, too. Yet those girls didn't know that I'm something of a trained speed reader with a memory like a steel trap. All I'd have to do is write those ideas down to be sure I got all the details right.
But, only, oh damn it! Where are all the pens when you need one?? And - oh no- paper! I know I have some, somewhere around here. No problem. I'll just type it on my laptop...which is...not.. turning on. The sweat began to bead at my brow. I grabbed a lip liner pencil and the flip side of a receipt from Stop and Shop. Another thing those Muses don't know about us writerly-type folks.

We sure do know how to improvise.

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