Wednesday, April 28, 2010

An Open Letter to My Muse

(Author’s note: My muse is a guy. I don’t know why, it’s just the way it is. *shrugs* And he’s much closer to Puck than Calliope, if you know what I mean.)

Dear Hammerstein,

I know we’ve had our differences in the past. You like to constantly flirt with my female author-friends, leaving me feeling like the third wheel. You always come up with good plot ideas for their stories, but hardly any for mine. If one of my writer friends asks for help coming with something, I have a thousand ideas immediately. If, however, I am trying to figure out how to make some element of my plot fit, it feels like I am cramming a square peg into a circular hole, while you stand on the sidelines chuckling.

To be fair, you do give me excellent character ideas. Yet I hardly have any ideas for the corresponding plot, which is problematic because characters need to DO something. I am the only one who is perfectly willing to read about my characters sitting in the kitchen drinking coffee. Is this how you get your kicks? Giving me a great character dynamic, but I’ll be darned if I can think of a proper plot to drop them in?

So I am writing this letter to you today to ask: What gives?

What have I ever done to you?

I feed you chocolate and cookies. Sometimes I stare at the computer screen, or lately, the printed pages in front of me, sure that chocolate will solve the problem. I read lots of books, about all kinds of cool subjects. I dutifully write down various bits of ideas, even though most of them are half baked at best, because of that one time you pulled two completely unrelated ideas together to make something really cool.

Those were good times. Now I am convinced that maybe someday you will combine two ideas again, so presently I have lots of little snippets in my idea folder.

I recently made a break through with my writing process thanks to your insight, so I know you’re still there. One of your favorite methods of idea delivery seems to be through my dreams, leading me to believe you must be Morpheus’s distant cousin (which is really cool, by the way), but this is problematic as well. Characters need to have some sort of purpose. I am all for cool scene ideas, really I am, but those scene have to exist within an entire book. I wish you would also enlighten me as to the context of the rest of the book those scenes go in. That would be really helpful.

I try to be a good author, I swear. I don’t just “wait for inspiration to strike”. I know you fired your last author because she was lax in her duties, and never showed up for your meetings. I try to have my butt in the chair at the same time everyday, and keep working through problems, even if the solution doesn’t immediately present itself.

I try to avoid those slutty new ideas too, that tempt me away from current works in progress. I drink lots of water and take my vitamins. I exercise regularly. I would drink milk, but I am lactose intolerant, so I save my dairy consumption for ice cream. You have already approved this.

So what gives? Is there someone else? Have you found another, younger author? I know I am not getting any younger, but I was hoping our relationship meant something more than just a pretty face to you. I had hoped all those moments of inspiration, coming to me like bolts of lightening, were your way of telling me you cared. Maybe I am just being naïve. Sometimes, when we meet up for brainstorming sessions, I could swear there’s another author’s font all over you. I can’t turn a blind eye anymore. I can’t pretend that I don’t notice that you’re out all night, always “working late”. I went to your house the other day, and your brother Ira was there with a heartbroken look on his face.

I just can’t do this anymore. The books are suffering because of it. It’s not me, it’s you. It’s time for us to part ways. I hope we can still be civil, but I am just too hurt right now to be friends. I’ll give all of your stuff to Ira; he’s been a better Muse to me than you ever have, and I’m not even his author. I am keeping the ideas we shared. We shouldn’t make them pay because we can’t get along anymore.

It’s time for me to move on.

Yours truly,
Elizabeth Poole

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