“What are you doing?” she asks.
“Making lists.” I look up from where I’m slouched on the sofa.
“Procrastinating.” A hand on her hip, my muse mugs a dark-eyed, straight-lipped face that fully expresses her annoyance. She’s dressed like a forest nymph with twigs, pinecones, and fireflies in her hair. Winter’s snowflakes cling to her midnight dress, and a white owl blinks at me from her shoulder.
“I’m trying to get organized for the new year.” I toss my notepad aside, and before I can stop her, she snatches it up and starts flipping through the pages.
“You had a sorrowful few months, and I’m sympathetic, but the new year has started, and books don’t write themselves.” The owl steps from her shoulder onto her forearm, and with a sharp lift of her wrist, she sends it up into the cabin’s beams.
She sinks down on the couch beside me, rustles the crimson autumn leaves along her hem, and puts her grass-stained feet up on the coffee table. A pencil appears behind her ear that she uses to critique my ideas. “What’s with all these non-writing items?” She starts crossing them off.
“Not everything can be ignored indefinitely.” My protests slide from her skin, and I shrug. I’ll just tack those items on the end after she leaves. “I have a lot of my mom’s keepsakes to distribute, photo albums to consolidate, and my dad needs more of my time now. I haven’t vacuumed in a month.”
“Pfft. Housework.” She scratches that one out so hard the paper tears. “Just don’t get it dirty.”
Obviously, the muse hasn’t ever lived in a house. “I think a schedule might help me feel less overwhelmed.”
“Fine. Here’s one I recommend.” She rips a page from the notebook and hands it to me. “You get one day a week for non-writing activities. Sunday. The rest of the week, if you’re not with your father, you’re mine.”
I stare at the blank paper as black ink spiders from one corner to the other, creating a calendar complete with to-do items. She’s revamped my blogging schedule, dedicated a half-day for marketing, and blocked off chunks of time to write. There’s fine print along the bottom and a place to sign my name. “Is this a contract?”
“I’m a busy muse, and I’m not going to waste my time with undisciplined authors.”
I don’t argue and sign my name, figuring I’ll try it. She tears the calendar in half, and somehow we each end up with a full copy including my signature. “When do I start?”
“Tomorrow.” She rises from my sofa. Spring petals flutter to the floor from her cloak of moss. The snowy owl wings to her shoulder. “You have work to do on your new book.”
I raise my eyebrows. “Which is?”
She smiles. “The working title is The Weaver and the Autumn Prince. I’ll leave the outline beside your laptop. Happy New Year.”
She winks at me and vanishes in a swirl of snowflakes and white feathers. I study the calendar, vaguely hopeful.
Apparently, I’ll be blogging on Tuesdays and Saturdays, with Saturdays reserved for sharing community blog posts and blogger books. Friday is marketing day. Comments are welcome, as always, and I’ll continue to reciprocate as well as visit all the blogs I enjoy.
And best of all, five days a week have a 4-hour slot set aside for writing.