I was shocked to find my Muse sitting at my desk, a list in one hand, a cup of coffee in the other, and my glasses perched forcefully on the end of her nose. She was dressed in a pale blue wool business jacket and skirt, and her mass of curly snakes was pulled up tightly into a trembling bun.
"What are you doing?" I asked.
She continued to stare at the computer screen, reading an article from Publisher's Weekly about the rise of internet book sales. "Catching up."
"Catching up? On what? Reading?"
She shook her head and spun the chair around to face me. "No. I'm helping you catch up on all this work that's been piling up since you became ill. I thought you could use my help today."
"Thanks. I don't know what to say."
"Don't say anything. Just get me more coffee." She held out her mug while turning back to the computer screen.
I did as I was told, then returned with two cups of coffee. Handing her one, I sat beside her on the wooden stool. "What are you doing now?"
"Double checking you haven't missed any opportunities for book sales." She sipped her coffee without looking at me, then scowled. "Too much milk."
"Missed any sales opportunities?"
"Not sure yet. I'll let you know." She finished reading the article, then hit the browser back arrow to return to the Galley Cat website.
I said, "Nice outfit."
She smiled and smoothed her skirt. "Never underestimate the power of a costume. If you dress professionally you will be professional. It's very hard not to feel in control in a power suit." She turned to look directly at me while reading from the list. "Let's see... you need to send notes on the Punk submissions to the writers. They're waiting for your direction. It is not good to let them wait too long. You should know that from your own experience of waiting for feedback."
"And then you need to contact someone about that form 571-L." She rummaged around in the pile of papers on the desk until she found the yellow form. "What is this, anyway? Property? You don't have any property?" Tapping the computer she said, "Unless you count this ancient lap top."
"Eight years is not ancient."
"In technological terms, it is. Have you considered buying a new one?"
"Right after I sell the Lamborghini"
My Muse set her cup down and folded her arms. "Very funny. I'm trying to be serious. You could use new equipment."
I nodded. "Yes I can. I could also use health insurance and new shoes, so the lap top will have to wait."
Studying the list again, she said, "Very well. Back to the task at hand. Why haven't you contacted H and R Block?"
"Because every time I tried to talk I would cough."
"You're not any more. Call them. You need to finish those taxes."
Her eyes narrowed. I said, "I'm not trying to be funny. I'm simply respecting the power suit."
My Muse continued. "Get the contract in the mail for the new writer, send two books to PMA for the conferences, reserve a hotel room for Expo, call KUGS again, contact the gallery for Laura's exhibit to see if they need books early, oh... and get that Audio book finished." She smiled, set down the list, took a large sip of her coffee, then stood. "There. That should get you started."
"And what will you be doing in that lovely power suit?"
"I'm going to look over that story you've been working on. Hopefully your latest revision has improved it."
I sat in the chair which felt warm from the heat of my Muse. "I think you'll be pleasantly surprised."
"Perhaps..." My Muse vanished.
This is the first time my Muse has paid any attention to the business side of publishing. It made me feel that the two sides of my creativity, the artistic and the practical, were melding, which was an excellent sign for the health and viability of Medusa's Muse. If my brooding, hungry, writing side and my optomistic, intuitive business side could work together, then I wouldn't be pulled apart by the dueling parts of my nature. I could approach publishing holistically. My Muse taking an interest in tax forms was a start.