A few years ago, when I finally SAW my Muse she dressed in worn comfy denim. She had gossamer wings. She looked just like Nova (Linda Harrison) from that old Planet of Apes original, her dark hair silky and shining. Every golden morning my Muse would hover at my bedside and awaken me with angelic ethereal humming. Dazed and inspired, I would rise and scurry off to my bus route. Afterward, I would take her hand like a ritual. She would lead me to a local diner or coffee house, and sit me down, and turn on my laptop with a missing left “enter” key. While it booted up she would pass the time pouring me honeyed coffee. She would bring it to me, and curl up on the monitor and purr rhythmically, playing songs by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard into my headphones. The sound of her purring and my fingers waltzing on the keyboard was like the sweet roll of distant thunder and a warm graceful mist washing over us through the middle of the day. In the early afternoon I would look up from my laptop and stretch, and whisper thanks to her, and wander off to drive a school bus, my mind full of visions.
Then due to circumstances beyond my control I had to switch jobs and writing became inconvenient and impossible in the midst of the day. She went into a Relocation Program for orphaned muses. I never heard from her again. Maybe you have seen her? For all I know she whispering music into your ear and filling your mind with visions. Don’t waste her inspiration. As soon as you exit Facebook begin your own epic novel, dear reader.
I had to adapt. I petitioned for another Muse for evenings and weekends. The one that showed up looked the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Desperate, I opened the door and let her in. She chain smokes Marlboro reds. She wears thick mascara and re-dyes her hair black weekly. She has sixty-six piercings—that I know of—and some I dare not ask about. One arm is sleeved-out in tattoos. She has a Ph.D in German Literature and refuses to purr. She prefers leather to denim, likes fishnet everything. She clipped her wings. From her pale neck on separate chains dangle hundreds of religious icons, peace symbols, and skulls. She reads “the lost works,” just to taunt me and quotes Nietzsche and Rousseau. She listens to Lady Gaga, the Ramones and Johnny Cash and Mozart and the Lower Chakras and drives a black hearse with a pink stripe. She speaks English with a French accent. She refuses to pour me coffee and spills her own on my papers. She never visits, I have to summon her. When she comes she’s often high and drunk, daring me to judge.
I’m not dumping her. I fear what I would get as a replacement this time. So I have the romantic memory of the one before and the reality of the next. – Inspired by a book I just read. Write Your Heart Out by Geoff Schmidt
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I was at my hangout working on the book. There’s no WIFI at the diner. So, I don’t dally on facebook. The drawback is I can’t save to my dropbox. I’ve stopped relying on a flashdrive. I had just finished making huge changes to the fifth rough draft. Driving home, I tell myself I need save to dropbox and my external hard drive. Don’t procrastinate!
At home, laptop plugged in, I go get a drink. Nagging thoughts of my adapter’s suspicious behavior bug me. ADD kicks in. I return. Laptop’s dead. The adapter went legs up. It hadn’t been charging the battery at the diner. All changes locked up on a powerless laptop.
So, gas is $35,000 a gallon and Best Buy is 20 miles away. Furthermore, I’m in a financial crunch (Did I say gas is $35K a gallon?). Best Buy has an adapter at $59. Amazon has it for $25.01. Need I explain? It’s headed to me overnight for $29 total.
That was yesterday. There I was with time and a fist-clinching drive to do more. I’m close to the end of writing the book. I’ve been putting off brainstorming about the next book. But, I was so angry with the situation I gave up and worked email, facebook, and twitter. Meanwhile the goal to have three books finished this year is slipping away.
I launched myself out of bed this morning, grabbed blank paper and pencil. Daddy O’s diner here I come. Sipping coffee in back, breakfast ordered, I started scribbling a rough outline of the beginning of the next book. I summarized the prologue. I kept going until all the crucial events for story structure were present. The epic story was succinctly put before my eyes, front and back of formally blank piece of paper. I tucked it in my folder and left for my walk, where listen to soundtracks and brainstorm over the children of my mind.
While walking I check my email after I’ve started the tunes. Amazon notified me that UPS had some shipping issues. My adapter won’t be in today. Grrr! But wait! I’ve just outlined my next book. Rejoice! My luck has been great. I roll the dice again. With Hans Zimmer playing, I constructed the next book in my head while I walked. All the plot points in place!
Now, I have a solid outline for the next book on paper and a soon-to-be-written-down outline in my head of the one after that.
Procrastination can pay off.
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Allen G. Bagby
Allen G. Bagby
- Allen G. Bagby
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