We’ve all heard that waiting for the Muse to show up is a bad thing. She either never shows up, shows up late, or shows up and takes you elsewhere than you planned for your date. Pull up your big girl panties, quit crying because your muse isn’t responsible and take yourself out on a date, seems to be the prevalent professional attitude.
Sadly, I’m a bit of a muse-slut.
It isn’t that I want to be, it’s just that when I take myself out it kinda sucks and when one of them shows up all hot and ready to go… well…
It’s really hard to say “no.”
On top of that, I have different muses, each with her own attitude. Sometimes so powerful It’s almost like I can see them. (No – I’m not on anti-psychotics, why?)
#1 – The Hot Date
I actually didn’t know this one would even look my way until about 3-4 years ago. She just walked in like she owned the place while I was busy painting the upper hall. Stilleto heels, a short skirt, chain smoking and sipping a never ending glass of Long-Island Iced Tea. She’s got red manicured nails, blood red lips and she laughs at me every time I try to do my own thing. “You’re so cute when you think you have a choice,” she says.
When this one shows up, I know I’m in trouble. It will be a power writing 6-8 weeks, slamming out words in digital files like a maniac until my brain oozes from my ears.
Then she leaves without even saying good-bye, No flowers, no card, no call, not even a text.
I feel so cheap and worn out afterwards.
#2 – The Grad Student
This one feels a lot like me, normally. Rumpled clothes, an occasional attempt at looking professional, with her hair in a messy bun. She usually has at least one pen jammed in said hairbun and another clenched between her teeth. She takes obscene pleasure in researching arcane things and finding a way to jam them into the writing. Part psycho-analyst, part historian, part nit-noid detail picker, she drives me up the wall for days on end, debating the finer points of whether or not a character would, in fact, knaalbind or knit in scene X and why it makes a difference.
There’s books strewn everywhere, at least one binder will be made of maps and other visual details, and while the notes for story ideas may not be organized alpha-numerically by date, they are all each in their own folder.
This one can hang around forever. If she’s not around, I know she’s hiding in a book somewhere, doing more research, just waiting for me to trip over her.
#3 The Artist
Total space-cadet, but smart in her own way. On the plus side, she usually only hangs out in that weird in-between state of wakefulness and sound asleep. Some of her ideas are pretty good. It was one of hers that initially started the current fantasy series I’m working on, although it took a few years of me staring at the notes every now and again and thinking “I have no idea where to go with this.” Other ideas… well…
There’s a reason why I don’t eat certain foods close to bedtime.
If I’m well and truly stuck on a scene and can’t think of a way out, I can sometimes lay down for about 30 minutes or so and she’ll bounce in with an idea. Excessively happy, excessively perky, she doesn’t understand why I get irritated with anything.
Then there’s The Muses’ PA.
Business casual dress with slacks and a nice shirt, she’s kinda like the secretary you get the feeling you never, ever, want to cross.
I have no idea how one interviews for this position, but apparently being a nit-noid slave driver is a requirement. “Go over it again,” is her mantra. She has a list of things to look for in each manuscript – discrepancies, calendar mistakes, word usage. She routinely takes 6-8 hours to review a single chapter. She’s been known to look at me and scathingly ask if I’ve been keeping up with my notes for this world. And that one. “And you have been researching credible sources for that other concept, haven’t you?”
Uh… Yes Ma’am.
Totally not hot. But I can work with her. Because I’m a professional.
And when I say that about myself, the PA tries not to snicker as she tilts her head back to work. “Whatever you need to tell yourself to get out of bed, honey.”