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, and a pile of unsorted papers, old mail, receipts. 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. She is glaring at Writer, who is sitting at his desk, but he’s not looking at the screen. He is also glaring, though at nothing in particular.
MUSE (tapping foot): Why am I here?
WRITER: You’re my muse.
MUSE: This I know. I mean why am I here now? You’ve got a project to write and you’re already well into it. I will appear at various times to give you little shoves in the right direction, but that’s it. Nothing of the sort is currently indicated.
WRITER: The Ideal of Inspiration is not confined to writerly projects. What if I need help with something else?
MUSE: Such as?
WRITER: Well…why am I so damn angry?
MUSE: I’m your muse, not your shrink.
WRITER: Exactly. I need inspiration to sort this thing out. I’m furious. And I don’t know why. There’s no reason.
MUSE: There’s always a reason. Who are you angry at?
WRITER: I shouldn’t be angry at anyone.
MUSE: Never mind “shouldn’t.” When did it start?
WRITER: A minute ago. I was taking a break.
MUSE: You mean goofing off. Doing what?
WRITER: Fine. I was reading my Twitter feed, if you must know.
MUSE (leans over writer to see computer screen). Let me see…oh.
WRITER: Oh? Oh what?
MUSE: This Tweet is rather insensitive, isn’t it?
WRITER(a little defensive): She was angry. I understand that. She’s had to put up with a lot.
MUSE: Because she’s Asian?
WRITER: Yes, living in a mostly Anglo city. I’ve never been in her shoes, so I can’t understand what that’s like.
MUSE: So it’s okay for her to make insulting, patronizing, sweeping statements about another group of people who happen to have a different skin color than she does?
WRITER: Well, no. Not okay. It’s just—
MUSE: Just what?
WRITER: I think I should make allowances for her situation.
MUSE: “Allowances”? Honey, she doesn’t need your permission to spout garbage, or for anything else, come to that. This isn’t about you.
WRITER: That’s not what I meant. Just because I was lumped in with the people she was insulting—
MUSE: Oh. So that’s what this is about. She pissed you off, and you feel guilty for being pissed off. Typical liberal self-loathing bullshit.
WRITER: If only… . I’m not ticked off, and weren’t you listening? I’m furious. I need to know why this has made me so damn angry. I shouldn’t be this angry, not over something as relatively trivial as this. I don’t understand why I’m so angry, and that scares the hell out of me.
MUSE: All right, fine. Anything to get you back to work. Do you remember a few weeks ago when Katie friended you on Facebook? Do you remember how happy you were to hear from her again? One of your best friends from college? Sweet, loving young woman who wouldn’t hurt a fly, who never had a bad word to say about anyone? Always thought of others? That Katie?
WRITER(melancholy sigh): I remember.
MUSE: Then you remember what happened next, don’t you?
WRITER: I don’t see why–
MUSE: Humor me. What happened?
WRITER: She posted a long, hateful rant on how immigrants were ruining this country and what we ought to do about it. The whole thing was vile from beginning to end.
MUSE: You could have called her on it.
WRITER: I could have. But I’ve tried reason often enough to know it doesn’t work, not when you’re going against what amounts to religion. It’s like bringing a pie-chart to a bar brawl. And I just didn’t have the heart to fight with her, so I unfriended her.
MUSE: I know you are feeling guilty about that.
WRITER: True, but I’ll take it if that will let me remember her as she was then, not the Tea-bagger bigot she became. Regardless, that was entirely different. We were talking about (redacted).
MUSE: We still are. Think about it—you wouldn’t put up with this kind of bullshit from a woman you loved like a sister. So why by all that’s holy do you think you should put up with it from a person you’ve never even met? You didn’t understand why you were so spitting fire furious at a stupid Tweet? I’ll tell you—you’re not and never were. You’re not even angry at (redacted). You’re furious at yourself, Honey. I would be too.
WRITER(as the light slowly dawns): Oh. I really am an idiot, aren’t I?.
MUSE: Yes. Now click the Unfollow button like a good boy and get back to work. It’s not like you have all the time in the world, you know.
WRITER: Thank you.
MUSE: Anytime. Just not right now. You’ve got work to do. And until you’re doing it, I can’t do mine. Got it?
WRITER: Yeah. This time I think I do.
Angry with ourselves a LOT of the time for giving in to distractions! When we get back to work, our Muses can get back to work inspiring us and “feeding” our writerly souls, putting them in motion.