Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Just for fun:

A couple of weeks ago, Genene mentioned she'd come across this writer's hint: Make an appointment with your muse. That's right, an appointment with your muse. All you do is inform said muse that at 3:30 that day, for instance, you are going to write a certain scene, and just like that, the muse shows up for work, raring to go. All you have to do is try to keep up.

I gave it a try recently, and in the interest of scientific research, kept a log of how it went. I submit that log now:

6:30 a.m. -- I awake to a dark room. The dh is still asleep. Very quietly, so as not to startle my muse, I say, "Excuse me, Muse, are you awake yet?" (Reader, can you hear the gentle lilt of my voice? Nothing jarring. Nothing demanding.)
The muse does not respond.

6:40 a.m. -- Like the sleep button on an alarm clock, I try again. "Muse, up and at 'em." I sense she is blinking her eyes. I say, "I'd like to make an appointment with you."
She says, "Why?" (I can tell she isn't amused or flattered or even much interested. But I press on.)
"I want to make an appointment to discuss Randy Larson's death."
"What about his death?" she snarls. (Obviously, she is not a morning muse.)
I say, I was just wondering, you know, why he died."
"Is that all," she says, attention flagging.
I add, "I'd also like to know who killed him. If that's okay."
She does not respond.

9:32 a.m. -- I try again. "Excuse me, Muse, about our appointment?"
"You aren't going to quit unless I agree to this, are you?" she says. I get the feeling I've called her way from some pressing business, perhaps a seminar on how to mislead gullible writers.
I say, "I'm serious about this, Muse. I need an appointment. How about 11:00 o'clock?"
She says, "No can do, I'm busy."
Having decided to take a more strident approach, I growl, "Muse, I'm warning you --"
"Okay, noon. I can do noon."
Noon? "But I have fresh bread and peppered turkey in the fridge --"
"Make up your mind," she snaps. "Me or lunch."
I agree to noon. She warns me to be prompt.

11:30 a.m. -- Worried about being late for our appointment, I sit at the computer.

12:55 p.m. -- Maybe I wasn't clear about where we'd meet. I try to remember if I mentioned the computer. Maybe she got the feeling we were meeting at the fridge. I run downstairs and open the fridge door. The turkey is still there. Muse is not.

Determined she is not going to stand me up, I march back up the stairs and this time I am firm. "Muse," I say as I sit at my desk again. "We have an appointment. You're late."
Silence, as vast and deep as the universe.

2:00 p.m. -- No muse.

3:30 p.m. -- No muse.

4:09 p.m. -- Muse ambles in and flops onto a chair.
I say, "Where the hell have you been? I've been waiting hours!"
She says, "Who are you trying to kid, you've been playing Pyramid Solitaire."
"While I waited for you!" I growl.
She shrugs. "I'm here now. What do you want?"
Still annoyed but determined, I say, "I want to know why Randy Larson had to die. I want to know who killed him. Good grief, he's been dead fifty pages! I really think you need to give me some answers."
She says, "Klugg did it."
My heart bangs against my ribs. "Did he pull the trigger himself or hire it out?"
"He did it himself."
I am afraid to push for why. I type madly.

5:30 p.m. -- Ten pages have passed. Guess what? Klugg did not kill Randy Larson. No way! That bitchy muse just said he did so she could go back to La-La Land or wherever she goes when I'm not watching. Grr…

5:32 p.m. -- I highlight the new text and hit "delete."

There you have it, the blow by blow account of my appointment with my muse.

Undaunted, I'm now in the developing phase of a new plan, working side by side with two brilliant young scientific minds (Katherine and her little brother, Hayden) who spent a considerable amount of time last year creating a bedside trap for catching the Tooth Fairy. It involved marshmallows, glue, and thread, though the exact formula and method is a highly guarded secret.

Yes, a trap!

Take that Muse!


Paty Jager said...

LOL,Alice, I love it!

Especially using the help of young scientists to capture your muse.

I'm sorry your muse has been snarky and not very helpful, but you know her giving you a glimmer of an idea helped you get pages written even if she told you the wrong information.

Good luck cathcing her and good luck getting more written!

Karen Duvall said...

Oh, Alice, that was hysterical! So you're thinking of trapping your muse, huh? Hmm... Your's sounds particularly uncooperative. Have you thought about trading her in for a new one? I've heard of this website called that might help. It's kind of like eBay. You put your muse up for bid and you can bid on a different one. I heard Stephen King made a bundle off his old muse, but unfortunately the poor sap who bought it was found a year later buried in his basement with some odd looking plants growing out of his eye sockets.

You've gotta be careful of those muses, Alice. They can be dangerous if not handled properly. You don't want to piss her off. She might bury you, too.

Alice Sharpe said...

Paty, thanks. Yeah, the whole grand kids making a trap is true. My daughter found this big gooey blob by their beds one morning and thread strung all over the place (the theory being when the TF grabbed onto the marshmallow, she would tug the thread and it would wake them up. This from two kids who could sleep through an explosion. Go figure...)

Alice Sharpe said...

Karen, eBay, huh? I like this. I don't imagine mine is worth a plug nickel but stocking up on an extra is probably a tax write off. The downside, as you pointed out by mentioning the poor SOB who got Stephen King's old muse, is the iffy quality control issue. You might get one meaner and nastier than your own! Shudder!

This all takes more thought...

Elisabeth Naughton said...

Hmmm...since your muse is an extension of your own twisted personality, I'm thinking you created that problem all on your own, Alice-dear. ;)

And for the record??? My muse is not allowed to hang out with your muse. I don't need her picking up any bad habits like that. (She has enough of her own to deal with).

Fun post. :)

Lisa Pulliam said...

Oh, Alice. I would love to live in your mind. I bet it's a glorious place to be. If I had an ounce of artistic talent, I'd draw a picture of how I imagine it. Maybe someday I will. Maybe someday.

I love the idea of a muse auction, Karen! Hahaha!

Danita Cahill said...

What a hoot, Alice. Although all snickers aside, I'm sorry your muse is such a bitch. Ha!

My muse is a mutant cross with the tooth fairy and comes to me in my dreams. I have no control over her either, she just sneaks into my head while I slumber and leaves frightening images or scenes that wind up as the core of my stories. It's her fault I write suspense. My grandma would much rather I wrote sweet inspirationals, but all those kind of muses seem to be rented out.

My muse, bless her little musey heart, also plants ridiculous images in my head too -- such as before going to see a comedian's show, my muse visited me in my sleep and convinced the comedian to call my butt up on stage under the ruse of giving me a free raffle ticket. So, I sleep-walked weaved my way through the crowds, and finally reached the stage.

Once there I realized I had my top on backwards. It was one of those fitted-around-the-boobs type of top, so of course everyone realized I didn't know the first thing about dressing myself, and everyone was there to laugh, so of course everyone was laughing. At me.

Damn muse.

Danita Cahill said...

Freaky Stephen King story, Karen. Sounds like something SK wrote himself.

Danita Cahill said...

I have a movie called The Muse that I'm planning to bring to the retreat. It's not romance, but it is about writers and writing. I think it's a great movie. Only prob is it's old and on VHS. Hope the house we're going to has a VCR...

Lori Barber said...

Alice, great post. I googled muse and discovered there's a Snooty, Snarky Muse Club and your muse and mine are members. They both have gold stars, earned for their irritating, untrustworthy, and unreliable abilities. Oh, and those potholes? Yep, you guessed it. Two gold stars for each one. By the way, they hate appointments and bribes of any kind, especially chocolate. Might as well pitch your boxes of See's candy.

I wrote this before reading the other posts. Seems Karen and I ran to the web for help. Not sure it did much good. Might I suggest we have a muse bashing party and tell all their dirty little secrets...that might make them run.

Danita Cahill said...

Oooooh, a muse-bashing party, huh Lori?

On second thought, I don't know. My muse sort of scares me. I'm afraid she'd retaliate. That might prove very embarrassing.

Alice Sharpe said...

Eli -- What, are you kidding? What do you think your muse was doing in Atlanta and Dallas while you slept? That's right, visiting my muse. And Lisa's. I heard they got drunk one night down at the muse watering hole where they hobnobbed with all the other muses.

Nice try.

Alice Sharpe said...

Lisa, live in my mind? You mean like a sublet? Ooh, I don't know about that. You're so young and have so many good years ahead of you.

Thanks for sharing a laugh...

Alice Sharpe said...

Danita -- Your muse is the only one I know of that actually works on her own. She is a treasure (if slightly twisted, poor grandma).

You all know I was just having a laugh with my muse, right? I mean, I would hate for you all to get the idea she and I are on adversarial terms. She's adorable, really she is. I love her t death.

She's just a little...tricky.

Too funny about the backwards shirt.

Alice Sharpe said...

I didn't know that about the bribes, Lori. Thanks for saving me some awkward moments and a ton of cash as I still haven't gotten around to going to Sees.

I think I've bashed my muse enough for one day. As I drove home from Mom's place, I realized I need to go back and take out the last 25 pages which just breaks my heart. I fear retaliation is in the making.

Frankly, I'm a little scared. Sssh, don't tell anyone....

Genene said...

To borrow Eli's expression: ROFLMAO, Alice!

Loved the images conjured up by everyone's muse stories. Why is my muse the only one who shows up on time? Especially when I'm usually running late?

Hope your muse decides to cooperate, Alice, so you can make it to the coast retreat!