This is a strange thing to say, but I once had an idea for a story . . .
It was a very simple story, about a writer and his muse, which is nothing like that movie, The Muse, which was something of a Hollywood insider movie, and the muse in question may or may not have been a crazy person. Mine is different, naturally. And it’s not about a guy who was successful–it’s about a guy trying to find that success.
The gist of it is this: the guy goes to bed one night, and he’s shaken awake by someone, a very pretty girl–think Manic Pixie Dream Girl type–who’s telling him that he’s got a great idea, and he needs to write it down now. Of course, he does have one, and he writes it down, and when he goes back to bed, the girl is gone, vanished, totally ghosted.
But not for long.
She starts coming into his life when he least expects it. She just shows up: at home, at work, while he’s shopping. She brings him ideas, and she won’t leave him alone until he starts writing. The more he writes, the more she’s around, and eventually, as he works upon this epic novel, she’s living with him pretty much all the time. He and she both know what she is, and they’re happy with that–
Or are they?
That was really as far as I ever got with the idea. There was so much going on in my life at the time that I was lucky to find the time to even consider the idea, much less flesh it out. But I’ve just added it to my idea file, so there!
I talk about my Muse a lot. To me, she is a real person, with real feelings, real needs, real ambitions. She doesn’t exist merely to get me off my ass and into writing–though, in order to write, I have to be on my ass, if you know what I mean. She’s there to do her own thing as well. It’s just that one of the things she does is inspire me to do great things.
I haven’t done those things yet, but I keep working at them.
There was a time when my Muse was the only thing that kept me writing. She was the only one who believed in me, who encouraged me to push myself, who said, “Keep going.” I listened to them, and even when things were so very dark for me that I didn’t know if I could continue, I kept going. Because my Muse would be unhappy if I ever quit.
In my unpublished story Echoes, Albert recollects a dream he had about someone he once knew, a woman named Marissa. There is a line in the story:
But Albert was in the mood to talk—or, if nothing else, to finish describing his dream. “She said, ‘I hope you are touching others as you touched me’.”
“You touched me.” I have heard my Muse say that to me from time to time. At least, I think that’s what she’s said. You know how it is with Muses; one moment they’re very happy, and the next they’re pulling a knife on you.
Like the character in my idea, I would love to be able to sit and talk to my Muse. To enjoy lunch with her. Or dinner. Or to wander a book store. Connect with her in a way beyond the, “Me Muse, You Writer!” relationship.
It’s not possible, though, because my Muse is real only in my mind. But . . . She’s there every day.
Today is Museday, her special day. How will I please her?
I’ll keep writing.