The Death of a Muse? (An Odd Cautionary Tale)

At first I was in denial that anything was wrong, even though it was the worst case of writer’s block I’d ever experienced. But of course! “My muse had probably just embarked on a summer camping trip,” I told myself. Everyone needs a little time off after many hard years of service. Besides what kind of employer was I not offering my muse paid vacation time at a luxury resort as a job perk? Shame on me. No wonder no notice was given before this mysterious departure.

But now after 4 months of not being able to write like I used to, it occurred to me that perhaps my muse had permanently run away. I pictured a little red checkered knapsack on a stick slung over the shoulder of my muse, filled with the bare necessities to assist with effective musing — chocolate, (for bribing a future author) a megaphone (for shouting into a stubborn writer’s ear) and even a typewriter, because sometimes good muses have to write the entire darn thing themselves.

I put an ad up on Craig’s List in the Lost and Found section that looked like this:

Missing Muse! Reward for any info leading to the safe return — no questions asked. (Except for Who?What?Why?Where?How?When?) Answers to “Little Voice” or “Sweet Inspiration.” Last seen wearing a red negligee, eating bon-bons, and watching The Young & the Restless soap opera. Friendly, bit of a chatterbox in fact, communicates story ideas in confusing bursts or fragments. i.e. “You’re having high tea with the King of Kidneys/Livers when the Queen of Hearts crashes the party?” or “Different types of Breadless sandwiches served open-faced by The Muffin Man?”  Please return this cherished Muse as soon as possible — sentimental value only.

Next thing I know a balding man knocks on the door, gives me an overzealous bear hug while exclaiming, “Here I am. At last we’re reunited! I’m your long lost Muse. You can call me ‘Bruce the Muse.'” Which is odd because before I used to call my muse, “Ida the Idea.”

He then went on to tell me how his ex-wife made him a sex slave and how it would turn the tables on all the female empowerment Lifetime movie of the week stories, if only I’d accept his assistance in writing the script. “True story!” he said again as if that would tempt me enough to hold out my hand and say, “Really? Well put ‘er there, partner! Join me in my writing studio where my stash of Doritos is.”

No sooner did I shut the door on the impostor Bruce (besides I pictured the physical form of my muse as kind of a femme fatale Marilyn Monroe type, but also flat-chested, a brunette, and with reading glasses) when there was an official sounding pounding and I opened it back up to see two police officers tapping their feet with a clipboard.

Officer #1: We suspect foul play. We see this kind of thing all the time.

Me: Really?! Like Stephen King is holding my muse hostage until she reveals some bizarre horror story romantic comedy plot-line and he writes it for her, ala the movie Misery?

Officer #2: I doubt your muse is so talented that someone as famous as Mr. King would risk his reputation. But maybe Morton Solomon has her squirreled away in his file cabinet.

Me: “Who?”

Officer #2: Exactly!

Me: Not funny. And I am not a-mused.

Officer #1: We know. That’s why we’re trying to locate the one you’re missing.

After these two clowns left, I honestly considered suicide. It was entirely plausible.  My muse was probably so discouraged by my recent waning blog statistics that she had taken her own life, thinking the writing world would be much better off without her. Or maybe killing herself was a clever strategy for my stuff to become classic literature! Everyone knows ya gotta kick the bucket before any public librarian will stock your books or students in 9th grade English Lit will be assigned a 1200 word essay analyzing your theme. And I’d always dreamed of being analyzed! Thank you Miss Muse for taking a (literal?) bullet for my sake.

Just then my cellphone lit up with notifications from Facebook Friends telling me to turn on the local news. Apparently I was the subject of a controversial public service Announcement:

As my Huffington Post headshot flashed on the screen, a really homely Marilyn Monroe type female read in a halting little voice from a teleprompter.

Have you seen this violent Wanna-Be Author? She’s wanted for 1 count of premeditated attempted museslaughter, 3 counts of abuse, and 9 counts of aggravated assault.  She stands 5′ 4″, (or 5′ 9″ if you count her kooky hairstyle,) and calls herself ‘Little Miss Menopause’ (but that was a real branding mistake!) and is extremely insecure. She tried to do me in several times right on her bed, (where all she ever does is sleep nowadays btw!) as she uttered these toxic words — “That’s the stupidest idea for a novel I’ve ever heard. Nobody will ever want to read that drivel!” I ran for my life. All local Muses beware! She’s armed and dangerous with a fully-loaded MR (Manuscript Rifle) to shoot down any creativity you might offer up. Please alert the authorities so she can go back on her medication.

The authorities? Oh no, not those two clowns again.

And of course there followed an immediate pounding on my door — this time the officers were accompanied by a medical physician who shoved a tablespoon of putrid medicine down my throat. One glance at the label on the bottle told me everything I needed to know… “Mucin-ex!”

READERS: Is your muse still offering invaluable guidance? Treat them well!

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Forget the Winter Olympics – – It’s The WRITER Olympics!

The Lord of the Olympic Rings!

The Lord of the Olympic Rings!

Why should athletes get all the glory?  I say change Winter to Writer (it’s just a few letters off after all) and let’s give ourselves some world-wide recognition!  You’ve already missed a little bit of the games, so read on and I’ll catch you up and “make sure we’re on the same page” with this concept….

The Opening Ceremonies of the Writer Olympics 2014 was a Best Seller Yeller, as the noisy crowd shouted for their favorites in “The Parade of the Publishers,” which now only slightly overshadows “The ebook Strut” and “The Librarian Stomp.”

The Author’s Oath (which was solemnly quoted, chapter and verse) by all Olympic Hopeful Indie Writers, went as follows:  “In the name of all the traditional house competitors, I promise that I shall take part in these Wordplay Games, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them from the Library of Congress, committing myself to a profession without slander, plagiarism, thesaurus abuse, and Doritos – – and to always have an ISBN # in the true spirit of readership, for the glory of Hard Covers and the honor of my Acknowledgments Page.

In lieu of the traditional Lighting of the Torch, a few avid readers found an out-of-the-way, quiet, little Nook where they began to Kindle some firewood, their whoops and hollers heralding in the “Let the Book Burning Begin!” ancient festivities.  There were mainly “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy books in the heap and a few diehard fans stood by with whips, biting their lower lip, rolling their eyes, and smirking. It was easy to read between the lines however, and know they were all thinking, “Holy Crap, E.L. James!”

The official events that many anxiously look forward to include: **

    • The Writing is on the Wall-Climbing
    • “The Short Story 1,000 Word Dash”
    • “Synchronized Synonyms”
    • “Modifier Dangling
    • “Blogganing Tobogganing”
    • “Novellathalon
    • “Cross Country Cliches”
    • “The Writer’s Hack n Hurdle”
    • “Page-Turning Relay”
    • “Plot Thickening & Jumping”
    • “The Final Daft Draft”
    • “Pen-Vaulting”
    • “Freestyle Query Letters
    • “Multiple Submission Slalom
    • “Figure of Speech Skating” (On Thin Ice)
I gotta "get the lead out" and win this thing!

I gotta “get the lead out” and win this thing!

      But first we turn our attentions to the Gold Medal Winner of the Minimalist Writers Award for this (very) brief interview:

Reporter:   Congratulations, you must be honored to join the ranks of Hemingway and Carver?

Minimalist:  Y

Reporter:  Where will you display your gold medal?

Minimalist:  Fireplace

Reporter:  Would that be over, under or inside the fireplace?

Minimalist:  Y

Okaaaaay. Well now here comes the winners of the Children’s Rhyming Classic Genre.  Their claim to fame – – the rewriting of “Horton Hears a Who” – –  Let’s give a really warm welcome to stone cold Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, who look really great for a couple of dead comics.

Reporter:  Hi Guys, WHAT  was your motivation for revising  WHO  Horton actually  hears?

Abbott:  WHAT

Reporter:  No, WHAT was the inspiration?

Costello:   That’s right.  The inspiration for WHO.

Reporter:  That’s WHAT I’m asking. So HOW did you come up with a modern day  WHO?  HOW?

Abbott:  WHY?

Reporter:  Never mind.  When WHO speaks, Horton Hears What?

Abbot: Yes, WHAT.

Reporter:  Horton Hears WHAT?  Just tell me, dammit. WHO is the one that Horton hears?

Abbott:  WHEN?

Reporter: Tell me now.

Abbott:  Tomorrow.

Costello:  Third Page!!

Okay, I guess they’ll tell us tomorrow.  Moving right along, we now catch up to long-time Olympic Champion Author in the Contemporary Horror event, as well as Suspense and Science Fiction events – – Always a good sport, here’s . . . Stephen King.

Reporter:  CUJOs  err, Kudos to you on your 79 medals, Mr. King!

Stephen King:  Yes,  IT was THE SHINING moment.

Reporter:  I understand you were in a lot of MISERY when you finally crossed THE GREEN MILE?

Stephen King:   Man, I thought I was in THE DEAD ZONE for sure.

Reporter:  THE LONG WALK when you were UNDER THE DOME must’ve made you feel like a BAG OF BONES?

Stephen King:  Yeah.  For a minute I almost thought CARRIE or DELORES CLAIBORNE would take the lead.

Reporter:  Nah, they didn’t have  THE TALISMAN  that you have.  But thank you. You’re just an open book to interview.

Well, that’s all the time this  dog-eared, bookworm reporter has for now. I’ll see you next time at The Writer’s Olympics, where we’ll have our expert judges (who will be judging a book by it’s cover) announce the finalists for the Gold Medal ceremony.  However I hear the entire name “The Writer’s Olympics” will be revamped to “The Hunger Games.”  Sheesh, some authors can’t seem to stay in their own lane  genre.  Oh well….it was just a matter of time, I suppose, before we started this New Chapter in sports recognition.

** Note:  All Jousting events have been cancelled since it was determined that indeed, “The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword.”

What’s your favorite WRITER Olympic Event??  Tell me that (and more!) in the comments section.