SING, OH MUSE… • by Elizabeth Lawrence

Of course I have a muse! Doesn’t everyone? Well, where the heck do you think all your wonderful ideas come from? Not from you — that’s for sure. My gosh, most people can’t even remember to put on matching socks or button up their shirts all the way, let alone come up with good ideas.

Not all ideas are good ideas, you know. But that’s because muses are pretty tricky little guys. Or at least, mine is. He’s very touchy and sensitive. He never does exactly what I want him to. I want Ideas, of course. But he hands ’em out all wrong. Either he’s giving me absolutely nothing or he’s shoving the Ideas down my throat so fast I can’t even take them all in. And then he gets insulted when I won’t use them right away! I’ve told him to slow down, to finish one thought before pulling out another, that I can hardly keep up… but he won’t listen! I tried to tell him as much once, but he just looked at him with these big, big eyes, drew his mouth down at the corners, and burst into passionate sobbing. I tried to take it all back, tried to apologize, but the damage was done. He hurled himself into a corner and huddled there, still sobbing loudly, clutching the tear-spattered remnants of his latest Idea.

I let him be for a bit, tried to hammer out some of the earlier Ideas he’d given me, but he was howling so much that I couldn’t concentrate at all. So finally I stood up and walked over and just sat beside him, scratching him between the wings. (They love that, by the way. That, and chocolate chip muffins. Anytime you need to calm your muse, that’s the way to do it.) Anyway, it worked, because he quieted down eventually and was more willing to listen. He’d almost completely crushed the new Idea with all his goings-on, but I pried it from his hands and told him it might be salvageable. He perked up at that, and his wings started going all quivery. He’s always like that when he’s happy. In a minute, he was on his feet again, and rushing all about the room. Muses can’t really fly, you know. Their wings aren’t big enough. But they can do a pretty good imitation of it. He was just darting all over the place — flashing red, then green, then yellow — and scattering piles of Think-Powder wherever he went. I wanted to tell him he would have to sweep all that up before we got back down to work again, but he was having such a good time being happy that I didn’t really have the heart to.

So I just sat there, on the end of my bed, and watched my room flash around me in all colors of the rainbow. And I listened to him singing — he has a rusty, squeaky kind of voice, not very good actually — and felt the warm spring breeze coming through the window. And I thought, “Ya know, this muse might not be the best, but he’s okay. He gets the job done, and he does it as best he can, and sure he’s sensitive, but who’s not sensitive? We’ve all got our quirks — but we’ll get the job done…”

Elizabeth Lawrence is a novice author who nevertheless already deeply loves her art. She enjoys writing mainly for its power, its beauty, and its unadulterated joy. When not writing, she’s normally reading, and when not reading, she’s normally writing.

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