Fear the Muse

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I think my muse wants to kill me.

I know I didn’t mention that on the bio page of my site—Who?—but that’s because I said the stuff you’re supposed to say if you’re a writer. It’s like a contractual obligation. If you’re a baker, you have to say nice things about dough. If you’re into ballet, you have to love Swan Lake and hate The Nutcracker. Or if you’re a musician, you have to credit Eric Clapton as your inspiration—even if you play the tuba.

With writers, you gotta suck up to the muse. That’s hard for me because I actually listen to what writers say. And like most artists, they say a lot of suspicious, ridiculous things. Things like: “I go where the muse takes me.”

Sure it sounds all lofty and poetic, but you can say the exact same thing about anyone driving a car. And let me tell you, I’ve ridden with plenty of people who do not qualify as inspiration personified. Way too many lunatics with weird body odor. Pure nightmare fuel.

By Tom Hoover: Fear the MuseSo what do we know about this muse person anyway? We know that she’s a girl—or a woman, if you’re more mature than I am. Greek mythology teaches us that there were nine muses, all daughters of Zeus. I know that Stephen King, in his book, On Writing, says that his muse is male. But I think he just got the smart sister who prefers pants because it’s just too darn cold to wear those silly dresses in the winter.

Or maybe he just needs new glasses.

What else do we know? The muse feeds the writer’s mind and soul with ideas and the desire to commit those ideas to the page. Problem is, mine feeds me with a slingshot from across a football field, and she can’t aim to save her life. I end up splattered with crusting inspiration like a toddler who got into the pudding when nobody was looking.

And I promise you, the ideas you finally manage to lick off your elbow a couple hours later don’t taste so good anymore. Plus, who’s gonna clean these walls?

We’re told that the muse whispers gently. Mine doesn’t. She rings my doorbell and runs down the street, laughing like an idiot. Or she calls in the middle of the night and says she dialed the wrong number—but I hear her snickering before she hangs up.

And let me tell you something else about my muse … hold on a minute.

Oh crap, she’s coming.

Act like we were talking about something else.

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