Wednesday, November 14, 2007

In the Background

My Muse has been trying on different outfits for a week; a black, slinky gown, a man's suite with a red, skinny tie, an electric blue turtle-neck with gaucho pants,a cowboy shirt and jeans, a leather mini-skirt and stripper boots. There's a large pile of discarded clothing on my bed and my Muse is looking worried.

"I have nothing to wear to the book reading on Friday!" she wails, tearing off a red sweater.

"What are you worried about? No one' s coming to see you."

She freezes, her eyebrows rising sharply. "What do you mean?"

"I mean people are coming to hear Laura read. No one cares about the publisher, let alone her muse."

"That's not true."

"Afraid so. Wear what you want. We're support staff now."

"That's a terrible thing to say!" She throws an alligator boot at me.

I laugh. " one publisher."

She crosses her arms."Random House."

"That's a publishing company. Who's the publisher, the person who did the work?"

My Muse blinks her heavy, sea-green eyes several times, then shrugs. "I don't know and that's not the point. Those are huge corporations with hundreds of staff. You ARE Medusa's Muse. Well, you and Jane and Rick. So people should know you and be proud of you."

"A few people do, and the people who know me are proud of me." I reach out and tuck a nervous snake behind her ear. "There's nothing wrong with being support staff. We're there to help Laura read from her book and have a wonderful time. It's like being the director of a play, you know. We don't go on stage. We help the actors look good."

She shoves over a pile of skirts and sits on my bed, crossing her legs. "Do you mean to tell me we did all this work..."


"Fine, you did all this work, and no one knows or cares?"

"Welcome to the world of publishing, my dear. And remember, this was all your idea."

I sit beside her and the two of us stare at my desk covered with overflowing stacks of papers, lists, post-it notes and half a chocolate bar.

My Muse murmers, "I thought this would be more fun."

'Me too,' I think. 'I'm getting a little tired of the non-stop marketing and paperwork, inventory lists and business management tasks. I miss writing, being creative, thinking about cover design and editing. I miss creating books, even the revision process. Instead, I spend my time keeping track of book sales and hoping I don't mess up the taxes. My own writing has been eclipsed by someone else's and instead of working on my own novel I'm writing letters to bookstores asking them to carry her book. On top of it all, most people have no idea I'm the person who edited, published and promoted Laura Fogg's book.' "This sucks," I say out loud.

My Muse solemnly stands and pirouetts to face me. "We will not feel sorry for ourselves. We will wear fabulous outfits on Friday and conduct ourselves as the publishing royalty we are. We are an elite club, you and I, and I refuse to let anyone diminish our accomplishments. Not even ourselves." She holds up a gold, Grecian tunic with emerald clasps. "This will look wonderful on you."

"It's a bit much, I think, but perfect for you."

"Then wear that new dress you bought, the green and black with the reflective beads."

"I like that one. Okay."

My Muse grins and shakes her full main of snake filled hair. "People won't know what hit them."

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