Thursday, December 14, 2006

When Muses get bored

Lately I've been hearing whispers from my Muse, gentle pushes toward one thought: Create a small press. I laugh and shrug them off, but the idea won't leave me alone. It has wrapped itself around my ankles like the snakes my Muse set loose in my room, compelling me to pick up a book and read about small presses. Peruse the Internet for blogs about publishing and web-sites of small press organizations. Just checking things out, I say. I'm not serious. It's always good to learn new things. My Muse smiles and coaxes another snake to climb up my spine. Come on, what's stopping you? Afraid? No, practical. Publishing is a whole art in itself and I am but a poor writer who can't get published. Sounds like desperation to me. But the thought won't leave me alone. My Muse is surprisingly tender, encouraging me to learn more. I'm not saying you should publish your own work. I honestly think you would be an excellent publisher. Now I know he's up to something because my Muse is never this nice to me.

I find him lounging on my bed reading a book.
"Why do you suddenly want to be a publisher?"
He slowly closes his novel and looks at me with sleepy eyes, "Because you're wasting your talents."
"Wasting? I'm a writer! A good writer! I'm wasting nothing!"
"I didn't say you weren't a good a writer. I said you have other talents which are going to waste." He rolled off my bed gracefully and stood close to me. "You're better at editing and helping people tell a story than you realize. You're also organized, intelligent, and love a good challenge. What's more challenging than opening a small press?"
"Climbing Everest while blind-folded."
"Exactly." He leaned over, picked up a snake, and wrapped it around my shoulders like a shawl. "Think of the possibilities."
"You know, you're not really Viggo. You just look like him."
"I know."
"Just because he has a press doesn't mean you should have one too."
"I know."
"You're being too nice to me. What are you up to?"
Grinning, He tapped my cheek with one long fingernail. "I'm encouraging you. Isn't that what you want?"
"Yes, but you're never encouraging."
"Time for a change." He walked slowly out the bedroom door and called to me, "Yes. It is time for a change."
The snake wrapped itself around my left arm. I stroked it softly and began to wonder again. What if?

Friday, October 13, 2006

After the panic

We finished the play and it's not bad. Could use more polish and I hate the end, but overall it's a good start and I get to turn something in to my class. But as I was writing, I had a one of those frightening thoughts that make your skin tighten and tingle.

I hit "print." My muse, who was leaning over my shoulder to watch, smiled, stood up tall and stretched lazily with his arms over his head. I kept staring at my lap top screen, feeling colder by the second.

"What happened to the snakes?"

He slowly stepped beside me and leaned against the desk to see my face. "Snakes?"

"The ones that were in your hair?"

My muse nodded while he stared at the screen. One finger tapped the desk top. Then silence. I waited.

"They're in your room," he said.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Panic Play

I ran into the back yard and screamed at my muse,"Quick! I have to write a ten minute play and it's due in two days." Then I stopped and stared. My muse sat in the same lawn chair she'd been glued to for the past two months gulping down red wine and smoking so many cigarettes the butts were piled around her like sand dunes. She looked up at me and blinked, her eyes shining dully out of her blackened, sunburned face.
"Oh my God." I whispered.
"What?" she croaked. Her lips cracked and she glared at me.
"Um, nothing. Just... how long have you been out here?"
"How long have you been wasting time surfing the internet and watching 'Rosanne' re-runs?"
She lit another cigarette and the flame from it's tip glowed so hot I was afraid she would combust. Her entire body was blackened and creased, as if she'd dipped herself into hot mud. She really did look like a burnt marshmallow. There is no better way to describe her.
"Yeah, right." I walked toward her, forcing bravery. "Anyway. I have to write a play and I need your help."
"What kind of play?"
"I don't know yet. That's why I need you."
She stretched slowly and I cringed as tiny particles of her skin sluffed off. "So now you need me."
I glanced at the hose. Maybe spraying her with water would help keep her from bursting into flame?
She put out her cigarette against the lawn chair. "When's it due?"
"This Friday?"
She suddenly jumped up and a large piece of skin from her thigh peeled off like tissue paper. "That's two days away!"
"I know. That's what I said. So I was wondering..."
"Why'd you wait so long?"
"I lost track of time."
"That's ridiculous! You never would have allowed this to happen before! I can't believe you've waited until the last minute!" She quickly peeled off more skin as she talked. "Is your lap top ready?"
"Yeah. The battery's charged and I started the program."
"Excellent. You know how I hate to wait for the technology." Rubbing her skin hard with her hands, she said, "Stand back."
I almost jumped back onto the deck as she began to rub and shake furiously, letting pieces of dried, black skin fly all around her until the flakes were as high as her ankles. She leaned over and rubbed her hair until it too fell on the lawn. When she stood, I was even more amazed than when I first came outside. Standing in front of me, glowing pink and nude, was Viggo Mortenson.
"Wow," I whispered. "What happened?"
My muse shrugged. "I haven't been a man in a while. I figured it was time."
"Why Viggo?"
"You like him don't you?" He smiled slowly and I blushed.
"Yeah. Sure. He's cool."
My muse walked toward me, his eyes penetrating mine. "And he's mulit-talented. He can act, sing, write and paint. He's politically active and doesn't take crap from anyone. So he's perfect for me. Don't you think?"
I felt frightened by the sheer power of my naked, Viggo Mortenson muse. This was going to be hard to emulate. "You look great."
He smiled. "Yeah. I do. I like being a boy." He scratched his balls.
I held up a hand. "That's enough. Get some clothes on. There's only so much boy I can take."
"Lead the way." As we walked back into the house, he said, "What's this play about."
"I have no idea."
"Let me get some pants on and we'll see what I come up with. It's a good thing you have me. Do we have anymore wine?"

Sunday, August 13, 2006

A Real Job

I went out and got a real job. I leave my home wearing clean pants and go somewhere specific, where I sit at a desk with a computer and do work that other people tell me to do. For doing this, they give me money. This is called a "real job." It has a schedule. A paycheck. Duties. It does not involve talking to imaginary people to create stories, nor does it include my muse. Since I've been working this job, she's been home drinking wine in the back yard. All that sitting around is making her lazy and sunburned. I'm a little worried about her. I'm a little worried about me. After work, my brain is too tired to create anything, so I lounge on the couch with a peanut butter sandwich and watch TV. I need the job. No, I need the paycheck. I need to keep the electricity turned on and unfortunately, the agent said no.

She was very nice about it. She scribbled a handwritten note at the bottom of the agency's "Dear Author..." form letter and told me she enjoyed reading my book but had to pass. She also told me not to give up because the field is "so subjective" and the next agent I send it to will probably snatch it up. My muse was very quiet. Instead of saying "I told you so," she went to the refrigerator, pulled out the bottle of Savignon Blanc kept there for emergencies, poured us both a glass, then walked outside to sun-bathe in the nude. She's been there ever sense.

I went outside and got a job. I'm not giving up, I'm simply trying to pay the bills. The hope that I would sell my book and therefore earn some money to keep writing vanished, at least this year. Until it sells, I need to work at a real job for real money. My muse demands wine, but refuses sunscreen.