I know I'm in trouble when my Muse transforms herself into Eddie Vedder. Usually that means she's feeling revolutionary, overly creative, and too much like Joan of Arc. She's been listening to Pearl Jam, especially that song "Indifference," over and over on my MP3 player, pacing around the house, humming along to the words. "How much difference, does it make?" And then this morning she dressed herself in 1992 grunge attire (army jacket, doc-martin boots, knee length shorts) and walked into the kitchen where I was trying to wake up enough to operate the coffee maker.
"Oh no," I moaned when I saw her. "Not Eddie."
"What's wrong with Eddie?"
"I can't handle that much determined, outspoken, dark, political venting this early in the morning."
She grinned and said, "Oh, but you should. You have some serious work to do with Medusa."
I pushed the on button and impatiently listened to the water percolate through the coffee grounds. "I will not save the planet today."
"Not today. But later would be good."
Coffee never brews fast enough, especially when you're standing in the kitchen with your Eddie Vedder-doppelganger-muse watching you. "What's the cause today?"
"Oh, is that all?"
"Did you hear what Huckabee said about rounding up people with AIDS and putting them into concentration camps?"
"I heard something about it."
"You can't let him get away with that."
I turned around and stared at her. "And just what exactly am I supposed to do about Mike Huckabee?"
"I don't know. Write something brilliant to make him look like a fool."
"He doesn't need my help to look like a fool. He's quite capable of doing that himself." The smell of the coffee began to fill the kitchen. I grabbed my favorite mug from the cubbard.
"It is your duty as an artist to speak out about such things."
I nodded, far too annoyed with how long it was taking to make a cup of coffee to focus on my Muse's diatribe about civic responsibility. "Can I save the planet after I have my coffee?"
She folded her arms and glared at me. "I don't believe you. Fighting bigotry is far more important than your cup of coffee!"
"You're right. But I fight better while caffienated."
She rolled her eyes, put the ear-buds of my MP3 player into her ears and said, "When you're awake, we can discuss strategy." Then she turned on the player and I could hear the faint chords of "Leash" blaring from the buds as she left the room.
Sometimes, this need to fight for justice is exhausting. I cannot ignore the ills of our society nor can I bury my head in the back yard and thank God people are dying "over there." What happens in Afghanistan and Darfur feels very close to me, like it's happening across the street. I cried when I heard they were tearing down housing projects in New Orleans and I was sick with fury for a week when I heard the comments Mr. Huckabee made about people with AIDS. I must fight when I see wrong, regardless of whether or not I have enough caffeine that morning. It's all my Muses fault.
My heroes are Martin Luther King, Janeane Garafello, Ani DiFranco, Henry Rollins, Studs Turkel, and others who fight for social justice and speak out against the wrongs in our world. I sometimes wish I could live quietly, do what Oprah says I should, and worry about Britney Spears, not Bolivia. Life would be so much simpler. Instead, my Muse transforms into Eddie Vedder and hands me a pen.
Oh well... there was finally enough coffee in the pot for one cup. I filled my mug and chased my Muse, wondering what she had in mind to go along with those Peal Jam lyrics.