A week ago Friday, one of my blogging pals published a motivating, inspiring blog post about the need to pay attention to one’s muse. She gently admonished us to always make time for our muse when she pops in to provide a story idea, a phrase, or just that little extra something that gets our creative juices flowing. The author of that post is Heather B Costa, and a link to her blog, ‘Trials of a wanna be published writer’ and the post can be found here. You will want to check this out – there’s some seriously good advice.
BUT before you go and check out Miss Heather’s interesting words, I’d like to introduce you to my muse. I call him ‘Rhett.’
Rhett Butler, if you want to be precise.
I figure if I’m going to have to drop everything and listen to my muse, he damned well better be a fine looking man!
When my muse pops in for an unscheduled visit, I visualize Rhett Butler knocking on my door. You’d be amazed at how much more appealing it can be to set aside everything and pay attention to a good-looking man. The problem is it’s not just to my door he comes knocking.
Ladies, you know what I’m talking about: men have this tendency to drop in and out of your life, showing up where and when you least expect it.
Do you understand now why my muse is a man? He shows up at the oddest times, and generally when I’m least prepared for a visit! I mean, seriously, if I knew he was coming, I would have washed my hair, put on my prettiest dress, opened up a bottle of wine…
Well, here’s the thing with Rhett. He’s really unpredictable. Let’s take last Sunday, for example.
It was a bleak, cold day, and I was enjoying a long, deliciously hot shower. So here I am, loving my shower, my hair plastered against my face, my eyes shut tight against the cascading water… and all of a sudden I hear this:
At first I ignored it, thinking it was the sound of water vibrating in the old ear canals.
“I SAID, AHEM…” repeated the voice, much louder this time. And slightly annoyed at having been ignored. (Why is my muse so bossy?)
Reluctantly, I opened one eye, hoping it wasn’t him, hoping against hope I was wrong. I mean, Geez! I had no pencil, no paper – and that hot water sure felt good. I just wanted to be left alone to finish my shower.
But sure enough: there he was. All glorious six feet of him, thick black hair, smooth mustache, impudent, dancing brown eyes.
Rhett Butler. My muse.
“Go away, damn you,” I moaned. “Can’t you see I’m trying to take a shower? For Pete’s sake… come back tomorrow, why don’t ya?”
“Now, Kate, how many times have you read ‘Gone With the Wind?’” he asked, giving me his badass Rhett Butler grin.
“Too many times,” I said. I was feeling just a bit grumpy. Can’t a girl have a shower in peace?
“And did you learn nothing from Scarlett’s misadventures? She was always saying she’d think about things ‘tomorrow’ – but tomorrow never came.”
“Okay, okay, what’s your point?”
“My point is this: have I got a story idea for you!”
“Do you see a pencil inside this shower stall? A piece of paper? You do this sort of thing to me all the time!”
“I do not,” he said, affronted. “I’m very careful about where and when I show up.”
“Sure you are… like that time I was going down the highway at 80 miles per hour, and you suddenly appeared in the passenger seat, telling me about this really terrific little idea you had for a short story – remember? The one about zombies picnicking in Central Park?”
“That was one of my more inspired ideas,” he replied modestly.
“Right, and it had me rummaging for pencil and paper as I weaved down the highway, sandwiched between tractor trailers and guys in monster trucks, trying to focus on staying alive while writing down your words of wisdom.”
“You did get a fairly nice story out of it.”
“Try telling that to the cop who ticketed me for erratic driving!”
Rhett said nothing, but he did have the grace to look abashed.
“And what about that time I was in the confessional? Remember that?”
He shrugged sheepishly. “It was a great story idea…”
“Yeah, about priests, werewolves and things that howled in the night. Do you know how many ‘Hail Marys’ I got pinned with when, under your influence, I began howling like a crazed wolf during the ‘Father, I have sinned’ bit?”
He looked irritated. “You need to lighten up, Kate. Listen, do you want to hear my idea or not?”
“Not,” I said, still grumpy.
His tone grew wheedling. “Aw, c’mon… it’s a really good one… you’re gonna love it!”
“Geez, you never let up, do you?” Resigned to the fact that there would be no peace until I gave in to him, I turned off the water, and emerged from the shower, grabbing a large towel. Leaving a watery trail behind me, I walked over to my desk and flipped on my iPad.
“Okay, Butler – let me have it.”
And he did. It was a great idea! It thrilled me to the core of my little ol’ writer’s heart! Suddenly, my dripping, towel-clad body did a dance of joy around the bedroom.
My husband, hearing my excited shrieks, called up the stairs, “Kate? What the hell’s going on up there?”
“Nothing, honey. It’s just me and Rhett Butler, having a little chat.”
A beat of silence. “Oh… him again. Okay, could you keep it down?”
I promised to do so, and then turned to face my wonderful muse. “Rhett Butler, you know just the right things to say to a girl.”
“Why, thank you, dear Kate. I’m glad you like the idea.”
“Like it? I love it, you rascal!
“Still… could you do me a favor?”
“Could you next time just show up when I’m sitting in front of my keyboard, ready to work?”
“Now where would be the excitement in that?” he asked, clearly disappointed by my lack of adventure.
“Guess there wouldn’t be any,” I admitted. “I guess I should just be glad you showed up… but I sure wish you were a little more concerned about the when and where. Showing up out of nowhere when I least expect it just isn’t the gentlemanly thing to do.”
He turned to go, a rakish smile on his face. “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
My muse. Guess I’ll take him any way I can get him.