Muse and Writer Dialogues #3


A room that passes for an office. There are bookshelves on one wall, a motley assortment of carvings, signed storyboards, and framed magazine covers on the free wall space. On the far wall is a medieval-style heraldic display of a cockatrice with a motto in bad Latin that reads “Pullus non Est.” Horizontal files sit beneath the window , and on top of those a free-standing rack holds three Japanese swords. The computer desk is on the wall nearest the door, facing away from the window. Beside that is a printer on a stand. In the base of that is a PS3 and an Xbox on a lower shelf. Neither is in use.

Enter the WRITER, who finds the MUSE sitting in a rocking chair staring at what looks like a smartphone. He’s a slob. She looks like a statuesque Greek goddess most of the time, but her appearance keeps changing.

WRITER: What are you doing?
MUSE: What does it look like? I’m playing “Angry Birds.” Not that you care. What do you want?
WRITER: You have to ask, after that stunt you pulled?

MUSE (concentrating on the game): Mmm, mm.
WRITER: You’re not even going to ask “which stunt,” are you?
MUSE: Why should I? You know you’re going to tell me anyway…. Heh. Take that, pig. I named him “Richard” after you, by the way. He has your eyes.
WRITER (ignoring the dig): You know very well that I was done with that story! I even blogged about finishing the rough draft.
MUSE: That was a silly thing to do, considering that you’re nowhere near done.
WRITER: I would have been, if you’d left it alone!
MUSE: Don’t be stupid. Even if you’d been right about the first draft—and you most certainly were not—you still had that rewrite ahead of you. Or are you going to claim the story was good the way it was?
WRITER: Well….it wasn’t bad.
MUSE (Not looking up): “Not bad” isn’t the same as “good,” now is it?
WRITER: I wrote out “The End.” Do you know how much I look forward to writing those two words? They’re my two favorite words!
MUSE: Bullshit. Your two favorite words are “acceptance” and “marshmallow.”
WRITER: Well, yeah…but don’t change the subject. That story had come full circle! It was unified!
MUSE: Full circle? You wouldn’t know full circle if a compass jabbed you in the butt. The story kept going. You were the one who stopped. You’re lazy, that’s your problem. Lucky for you I’m around. I even gave you the next line. “It was three years before Damon saw the drowned girl again.” Come on, you gotta admit that’s a good line.
WRITER: Well….
MUSE: Apology accepted. Now get to work. Wait, turn on the Xbox first.
WRITER: What for?
MUSE: I’m tired of Angry Birds. I’m in the mood for some Dance Central.
WRITER: Fine, but go invisible like a good personification of the creative impulse, if you don’t mind. Otherwise it’s too distracting.
MUSE: What is?
WRITER: You are. Especially when you’re dancing “Planet Rock” in a chiton.
MUSE: Flatterer. Now finish the story like a good boy. This time for real. And then you’re going to tell me I was right.
WRITER (heavy sigh): I know. Dammit.