Meet the Muse (prompt)

Adobe Stock image

I’m reading a page-turner in my writing room when I hear conversations below me in the muddy track called “my driveway.” Nobody ever ventures up this mountain besides the solitary UPS driver, and this sounds like a crowd. I peek out the window.

Muses. Lots of muses. What the…?

They fall silent and, as one, swivel to stare at me. Expectant. It appears a decision has been made.

One of them breaks from the pack, and I can’t help but groan. The Mercenary Muse (once subcontracted by my Bossy Muse) starts up the rain-slick stairs.

I open the door and look up, way up. The muse is a hulk, and he smells like a battlefield after a month long campaign. He bares his teeth in a sneer as if I’m the one who needs a shower.

My Mercenary Muse (aka Discipline). Artwork by Peter Pham

“Where’s my regular muse?” I ask.

“In the ocean.” He tracks muddy prints on my floor and sits on a granite throne that appears in front of my couch. “She’s trying out your next book.”

“Oh really?” I arch my eyebrow and get a little huffy. “You’d think the author would have a say in the next story. What is she, a pirate or a mermaid?”

“A sea witch.” His grin is disturbing, though not as horrifying as his skimpy little outfit. I wish he’d close his legs. Yeesh. “I’m the Ferryman,” he adds.

My eyes snap up, and I blurt out a laugh. “Oh, no, you’re not.”

“Don’t defy a muse.” He glowers through the warning. “I am the Ferryman.”

“Gah!” I lean into his face, nose to crooked nose, angry enough to risk his breath. “No chance, big guy, not unless you submit to a complete makeover. Otherwise, forget it.”

“You’re the author.” He settles back in this throne with a smug smile and picks something from his teeth.

Artwork by Victor Nizovtsev

I wrinkle my face and cross my arms like a petulant… author. A Ferryman? And a Sea Witch? Am I actually considering this? I want to throw up but change the subject instead, “So, who are those muses, and what do they want? Don’t tell me they want scenes in the next book.”

He grunts to the negative. “They want some publicity for their authors, and I told them you’d help.”

My eyes narrow. “How?”

The brute leans forward, elbows on his knees. I’m tempted to hand him a toothbrush and bottle of mouthwash. He ignores my grimace. “They’re going to have conversations with their writers, and you’re going to reblog the posts.”

I tap a finger on my lower lip, considering the idea. The last time my blog friends joined in was a blast. And wonderfully creative.

I extend my hand. “Agreed.” We grasp each other’s forearms like warriors, and I squeak as my bones grate together.

“Agreed.” He lets go and heads for the door. “And I want your plot outlined by the end of the month.”

“But… but I’m not done with my reading challenge and now…”

If looks could squash me like a bug, I’d be plastered to the wall. He stomps down the stairs and joins the other muses. His throne fades away, and I peer out the window as the crowd disperses into the rain. I better get a post ready.

Here are the rules:

Post a conversation with your muse on your blog and link back to this post or leave a link in the comments. Don’t have a muse? Just open the door and see who shows up.

No word-limit and keep it family friendly. Include an image of your muse if you’re inclined (with respect for copyrights, please). I’ll reblog all posts received before December 1st. Thanks for playing… Meet the Muse!

Ultimatum from the Muse

the-muse

I’ve returned from my visit to my parents to find my muse practicing with her staff in the driveway. I see that she’s swapped her doeskin for some sci-fi gear that only a muse can pull off … barely. She gives me the weasel eye and impales a fence post with a shot of blue light at forty yards. Show off.

There’s a difference between writing and editing. Creative writing strikes me as right brain, the realm of poetry, music, art, and imagination. It’s intuitive and fluid. The other side, the left brain editor in chief, is practical and logical. It’s the domain of concrete language, organization, detail, and processes.

For the past eight months, I’ve been the nerd with the black-framed glasses, chewing on a pencil as I hunch over my books, one by one crossing off adverbs, fixing commas, and deleting dialog tags. My muse gave up on me in April and moved out.

She’s been lurking, though. I caught glimpses of her at the forest’s edge, keeping a keen eye out for a spark of fantasy while she communed with the green world and watched the night sky with the coyotes. When I heard the hoot of evening owls, I knew she was out there, waiting.

Apparently, she’s run out of patience.

“I’m back,” I state the obvious. “Want to come in?”

Not troubling to reply, she follows me up the rickety stairs to my writing room, her strange boots clomping up the steps. Today, she’s taller than I, a lithe flame-haired elf to my frumpy hobbit, and the small space forces her to duck. She sits across from me on a stone bench that suddenly appears along one wall, elbows on her knees, a wary spark in her green eyes. The magic staff rests against the wall, brimming with latent power. “Are you still a writer or do I go elsewhere?” she asks.

“Are you still brooding or do I need a new muse?” Two can play at that game.

She stretches out her long legs, arms crossed, her chin at a tilt. “You used to write ten hours a day. You were dedicated.”

“I’ve been busy. I had books to transition, babysitting for the Overlord, a patio to complete, my parents to visit.”

“All completed and the Overlord started preschool.”

“See. More time to write.”

“Write or blog?”

Ah, there’s what’s got her leggings in a knot. “Both,” I reply. “I have a lot of followers and more every day. I like reading their posts. They’re inspiring and talented.”

“I don’t doubt it.”

“And I should grow my blog, right? Social media is an important part of building a brand, of being an author.”

She narrows her eyes. “At least do me the courtesy of telling the truth.”

“Fine.” I roll my eyes like a teenager caught with the car keys. “I just enjoy it. Blogging is fun, and I’ve connected with some wonderful people that I count as friends.”

“Maybe you need a blogging muse.”

“No.” I scowl at her. “I’m a writer.”

“Are you? How many hours will you write a day?” She’s trying to pin me down and I’m squirming.

“Four.” I toss it out with a wince.

“Insufficient. You’re wasting my time.” She gets to her feet, sleek and swift as a panther, and snatches up her staff.

“Five,” I shout. “Minimum of five.”

“Barely adequate.” She faces me, her eyes catching a glint of fire from the stained-glass window. “It’s a start, but I want a commitment. I want your oath.”

“Really? An oath? You’re kidding, right?” I groan, but she’s unimpressed. “Do I have to kneel?”

“Whatever suits you. I want five hours a day, six days a week. Swear it.”

I inhale and blow out a sigh. To my core, I know this is good for me. I need the discipline and the balance. My blogging time will go down a bit, but not terribly. “I give you my oath that I will write five hours a day, six days a week including blog posts.”

She studies me, deciding on my amended version.

“Blog posts count as writing,” I say with whining authority.

“Fine.”

I huff at her. “Fine.”

“Get to work.”

“Fine, I will.”

A smile quirks her lips. “It’s good to have you back.”

I return the smile, a small concession to her value. “I’m glad you stayed.”

**

Once again seeking balance.
Wrote all day yesterday and it felt wonderful.