Thursday, June 29, 2006


Lately muses have been a topic with quite a few people I know. The muses known to me and others seem to be a bit elusive. I have a few theories about this.

One is that they could be organizing and going on strike. It's unlikely, considering the nature of the muse, but we can't rule it out, as they've probably absorbed enough history and news to know how a strike works and how it could benefit them.

Another theory is that they could be on vacation. This one is my favorite, as it seems to be the most benign, and the one quickest to return a muse to its owner (I use "owner" very loosely here).

If it's possible to burn up a muse, then there may be quite a few in the burn ward of the muse hospital. I know I've bled a few for every drop of creative juice they had. Maybe some of the muses are muses getting creative juice transfusions.

Maybe the writer's muses got mad one day at all the work they were doing and quit and became musician's muse, or the artist's. Or an inventor's muse.

Paris Hilton is releasing an album, maybe there was an emergency calling of extra muses to the PR person of Ms. Hilton.

I remember my favorite muse. We were really cranking out some top-notch stuff together, inspired by a brooding musician with more than a few vices, eccentricities, idiosyncricies, and annoying qualities... but he simmered. He didn't have to touch me to affect me, but when he did it was cold fire, meaning he burned me to my soul with his cold aloofness. When he sang it was to me (and every other woman in the room). When he needed something he called me, when he didn't he was nowhere to be found. Agh! he was annoying! But he had become the embodiment of my muse, and I was maddeningly in love with the rush I got from writing.

We had a one night stand, which nearly destroyed the magic. It was unmemorable. Fortunately, because of the musician's nature, he treated it as a game from which he played all sorts of ridiculous cards to try and control me. I, ever up to a challenge, returned the favor. So the game played between us was with both of us knowing the other played, and for reasons completely counter to love. I wanted a muse. He wanted... he wanted... to this day I don't know what he wanted. It wasn't sex, he had plenty of other women that would buy him stuff (from cigarettes to paying his cable bill to buying him a truck, no really!) and I wasn't so stupid to fall into that part of his game. So I don't have any idea what he needed me for. Nope, wasn't writing songs, either. By then he'd gotten lazy and callous and was barely inspired to perform covers and let the rest of the band do all the writing.

Oh, he was a pain, for sure. But once he took the stage, mic in hand, he lit it up, so I hovered around him for a few years on the fringes of his life, devouring the energy off of him like candy and writing inspired stuff.

One night I had talked him into going to a movie, and on the car ride over there, in a very "My Best Friend's Wedding" fashion, I casually and sarcastically said something very similar to "Man, if we're both still single when we turn 35, we should just suck it up and marry each other" as my mindset was particularly jaded against love at the time, just as his generally was. Much to my surprise, he didn't hesitate a long time (a little time, but not a long time) to say something like "Sure, why not? Sounds like a good idea."

For the entire movie, I half-concentrated on the plot, and half thought about my brooding musician that might actually stay single (as it was easier to string along multiple women while single) until we reached 35, and what if I'd not found happiness yet? Brooding he may be, but he was also lazy, self-centered, unambitious, a procrastinating dreamer, a user of women, bad in bed, unappreciative, expecting life be handed to him, unwilling to participate in anything, and addicted to a few substances I didn't really want to deal with on any level. What in all hell had I suggested?

Well, over a 104 minute movie I yanked my muse out of his body and mentally kicked it all the way home, shut it in a closet, and left it yelling there assuring it that I would be back soon and we'd work all this out.

When I got home, relieved to be scared straight of my brooding musician, I found my muse beating the back of the closet door and yelling profanities. When I let the muse out, I was informed in no uncertain terms that I was a horrible, ungrateful, demanding, selfish, unenlightened cuss of a writer, and that muse -- my favorite -- flew out the front door and disappeared on the wind. In my anger I whipped out one final brilliant poem and then stared at a blank piece of paper for the next five weeks.

Finally I went to visit the brooding musician, taking my journal with me, and sat on his futon while he played guitar. I wrote 7 different fragments and two bad poems. I wrote 4 paragraphs of random thoughts to play with later. I wrote a list of images, sounds, ideas, and minute details. After two hours of ignoring him and being ignored by him, I left with my journal. I didn't open it for another week, and when I did to reread what I'd written, I tore it all out, crumpled it while screaming at the top of my lungs how unfair muses are, and threw it out.

Apparently that was enough to get me blackballed back at Muse Headquarters. It took much begging, pleading, numerous applications, various appointments, a class in "the proper care of a muse", and finally accepting the newbie muses for a few assignments, all the while being closely monitored, and being assured that the crap I was writing would indeed have to be good enough for now, and I'd better be content with it or I'd not get another muse at all. It's been a few years now and I seem to be regaining some clout at HQ. Not enough to get a really fine muse, like Shakespeare did, nor even a commercially profitable muse, like those that work with best-selling authors, but a muse nonetheless.

You'll have to pardon me, but I must go cater to her whims just now, or I'm sure she'll report me back at HQ. By the way, she laughed at all my theories regarding the recent activity of muses. She said I'm ridiculous and frivolous and should stick to re-reporting the news. Any of you want her?

1 comment:

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