A few weeks ago a friend asked me where my Muse was, wondering why she hadn't made an appearance on my blog in a while. I assured her that my Muse wasn't gone, she was just bothering someone else: Rick.
Rick is my life-partner and my in-house book designer. When I said I wanted to start a press and handed him Pete Masterson's book, he said okay (after a few days of questioning glances when I'm sure he thought I was nuts). Since then, he's been my greatest supporter, throwing himself whole-heartedly into book design and general technical management. When I needed a website, he created one. When I needed a logo, he hunted for the best artist and made it happen. And when I needed a book cover design, he hauled out his camera, brushed off his graphic design courses, and made a cover. For Laura's book, he stood out in the middle of the street, taking several photos of the asphalt, braving cars and the occasional bicycle to get that perfect shot.
My Muse loves him.
For the next Medusa's Muse book, What You Need to Know to Be a Pro: The Business Start-Up Guide for Publishers, he is drawing sixteen images, exemplifying each title's subject. I like the idea, but I don't really think we need them. However, he is determined, spending every free moment between his job, his other computer support clients, and being a dad, hand drawing cartoons. There he is at midnight, sitting at the kitchen table, black pen to paper, my Muse right beside him.
"You should leave him alone," I tell her.
She looks up at me and smiles. "Why?"
"Because you're being cruel. He has enough to worry about without you driving him to the point of creative exhaustion."
"He can take it. He's tough." She strokes his arm with one taloned finger. "And don't you like what he's coming up with?"
"Yes, I do. But I don't like the stress."
She rolls her eyes and sighs. "Stress. Every artist needs a little stress, otherwise nothing gets accomplished. What is an artist without a deadline?"
"A happier artist."
"No. A couch-potato. Without the feeling that they MUST accomplish their task NOW, then the task is never completed. You of all people should know that."
Rick looks up at me and says, "I'm just about done with this part. Next I'm going to add color."
"Color?" I walk to the table and stare at him. "I think the designs you have now are great. You don't need to add color."
"I think they'll be stronger with color. And I want to see how the printer handles the images in color."
I bite my lip. "You know, the book has to be done before the first."
"Yeah. I know." He waves me off and gets back to work.
I glare at my Muse.
"What?" she says. "It wasn't my idea."
"Sure." I fold my arms and watch the two of them again; Rick huddled over his drawing and my Muse watching his every move, her snakes leaning closer to catch a scent of him. I sigh, say, "Don't stay up too late, okay?" and then leave the room.
All I know is that when Rick latches on to an artistic vision, there's no pulling him back. He wants to create the best or there's no reason to create anything. We are so alike, he and I. It's no wonder my Muse is enamored of him right now.
Will we make THIS deadline? I honestly have no idea.