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 wall display of a cockatrice and a banner in bad Latin “Pullus non Est.” Horizontal files sit beneath the window , and on top of those a free-standing rack holding 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. It’s a bit dusty.
Enter the Muse. Her appearance tends to change every now and then, but mostly she appears as a Greek goddess type in a flowing chiton. At the moment she is, to put it mildly, NOT HAPPY. She looms over the Writer who is sitting at his desk, staring at the computer screen.
MUSE: Would you mind telling me what the hell you’re doing?
WRITER: What does it look like?
MUSE: Well, it LOOKS like you’re writing. But I know you aren’t.
WRITER: How do you know that?
MUSE: I’m a figment of your imagination. How could I NOT know?
WRITER(not taking his eyes off the screen): Good Point.
WRITER (sighs): I’m formatting.
MUSE: Formatting. You mean like wiping out your hard disk and all your stories and books? Probably for the best.
WRITER: Ha Ha. You know what I’m doing, just as you know what I’m not doing. I’m changing a novel from manuscript format to book format.
MUSE: That’s not your job.
WRITER: I wish it wasn’t. Times have changed.
MUSE: Don’t try to pin this one on Time. I happen to know he was at a pub on Fortification Street most of the night and is sleeping it off today.
WRITER: I should have joined him.
MUSE: I’m serious. How much time is this taking?
WRITER: A week so far. Probably another three days. Mostly because I’m new at it.
MUSE: You’ve got nothing better to do?
WRITER: Well, there’s the sequel to Black Kath’s Daughter, which I’ve already started. A few short stories…
MUSE: None of which are getting written.
WRITER: Not until this is done. I want hard copies ready for the library signing next month, which means there’s a deadline.
MUSE: Next month? I’m thinking NOW, which is all the time any of you mortals have. What about now?
WRITER: Now sucks. But I have to do this.
MUSE: No, you choose to do this. Are you sure it’s a good idea?
WRITER: Am I ever? Look, I’m working as fast as I can. I hate keeping a story waiting.
MUSE: Not as much as they do. They tend to wander off if you don’t pay them enough attention. I do the same thing.
WRITER: Believe me, I do know. Patience is not one of your virtues.
MUSE: Virtue is another department. Unlike some of us, I know what my job is. And it doesn’t involve hanging around while you go off on a tangent.
WRITER: It’s not a tangent! It’s in service to the writing
MUSE: No, it’s in service to the marketing. Don’t confuse the two. You’re confused enough.
WRITER: Writers have to learn to market or there’s no career.
MUSE: If there’s no writing, there’s also no career.
WRITER: I can do both. I am versatile.
MUSE: Feh. You barely have time for one, and now you think you’re going to pull off twin shifts? You’re not bad, but even YOU can’t make that plausible. I’m outta here.
WRITER: Just don’t forget where I live.
MUSE: I won’t if you won’t.