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."
"Just because he has a press doesn't mean you should have one too."
"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?