Monday, May 02, 2011

How to make your muse insecure

My muse is staring at me while I work. She hasn't moved in ten minutes. Even her snakes are attentive.

"What?" I ask.

"I'm trying to decide if anything about you has noticeably changed."

Stopping my writing, I turn to stare back at her. "What do you mean?"

"You seemed so different on Saturday."

"Why? How was I different?"

"So... confident."

"You say that like it's a bad thing."

"No. I don't mean it to sound like a bad thing.... it's just..."


"Where did it come from?"


Moving closer, she sits on the edge of my desk while keeping her gaze fixed on me. "This confidence I saw. Where did it come from?"

"I don't know what you're talking about. You obviously didn't notice how scared I was. It was terrifying standing in front of all those people trying to sound like I knew what I was talking about. Thank God they were a good crowd and asked a lot of questions. If they'd just sat there staring at me the whole time, I would have thrown-up."

"But your fear didn't show. You stayed in control of yourself and that room and got your point across effectively. The audience learned from you and were inspired by you, which is what good teaching requires." She picks up a strand of my hair and strokes it between her fingers. "Even when you lost your train of thought a few times, you just took a deep breath and got organized. I've never seen you so... confident."

"Think my confidence is hidden in my hair?"

She laughs, but keeps playing with my hair. "No. I'm just wondering what exactly has changed about you."

"It felt good standing up there in front of those people sharing an idea with them. I liked it. And I believed that I had something to say that could really help them. That made it easier."

She lets go of my hair and leans closer. "Yes, this idea of yours... where did it come from?"

"I don't know... it's just something I was thinking about... about how many options there are to get published now and how someone can figure out what choice is right for them."

"But you created a step-by-step process for discovering that path. How did you know how to do that?"

"I just thought about it a lot. Thought about my own journey and how I figured out that I wanted to start a press. And I thought about how I've been trying to get an agent for my fiction, but it's so hard to get one. So what other options are available? Once I started thinking about that, the idea of the four step process just sort of... bloomed."

"Are you sure you didn't have help?"


"Yes. Help. From anyone, or anything..."

"I suppose I've had help from other writers and teachers over the years, but no one specific. I didn't steal the idea, if that's what you mean."

"Of course that's not what I mean. You're not the type." She stands, smoothing the snakes away from her face. "I want to know what inspired you."

"Are you asking me if I found a different muse?"

"No... of course not." Standing in front of the mirror, she pats her snake hair into place. "You would never do that to me." She pauses and glances at my image reflected in the mirror. "Would you?"

"Where would I find another muse?"

"They're about, always hunting for a new artist to inspire."

"I already have a muse."

"So. If one sensed that you were unhappy..." She turns around and looks at me with wide, sad eyes. "Are you unhappy?"

"No. I'm fine. Everything is fine between us." I stand and move closer, trying to be close enough to reassure her while also keeping my distance from her unpredictable, poisonous, snake hair. "Medusa, I don't need another muse. I have you, and I like you. Even if you're a bit hard to work with sometimes, we both know I've created my best work since I've been working with you."

She nods. "I'm glad. Because I like working with you."

"It would be nice to hear it now and then."

"Why? If I didn't like working with you, I'd be gone."

That's my muse. Forever kind and supportive.

She pulls back a snake that is slowly inching closer and closer to my head. "Are you sure no one else inspired you?"

I hold a hand to my heart. "I swear."

"Good. But just to be sure, I'm going to look around and see if anyone else is trying to get a hold on you. You may not even be aware if another muse is attempting to take control."

"You make it sounds like a pack of vampires out to get me."

She smiles. "Who says we aren't?"

Who indeed?

"But first," she says, taking my arm and leading me to the couch. "You must tell me all about this process of yours for finding your publishing path."

"Didn't you hear enough on Saturday?"

"I want you to tell me again. Slowly. I find it very intriguing."

"Well, first, you have to look at your work and decide why you're writing and who you're writing it for. Then..."


Tanya Anguita said...

This is delicious. Thank you!

Boonie S said...

Most interesting. Thanks.

Have a great weekend, Boonie

Terena said...

thank you. I'm working on an article that explains the process step-by-step. When it's available, I'll let you know.

Rick said...

I thought I was your third string muse.