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 there used to be a free-standing rack holding Japanese swords, only they had to be removed because of the cats. 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 PC and a PS3. The PS3 is not currently in use.
Enter the MUSE, currently in her Greek goddess mode. Writer is sitting at the desk, watching an instructional video on the computer.
MUSE: What are you doing?
WRITER: Taking a music lesson. I’m learning to play “Bad Moon Rising.”
MUSE: You are not a musician. You are a writer, and you’ve got writing to do.
WRITER: First, I’m not a musician YET.
MUSE: Stop kidding yourself. You don’t have the knack. You know it and I know it.
WRITER: So? That’s never stopped me before. You should know that better than anyone.
MUSE: I admit it’s one of your better, if most annoying, traits. By the way, your reference to “First” implies a “Second.” What is it?
WRITER: Second, I can’t start another project yet.
MUSE: You don’t have to. You were about fifteen thousand words into the Black Kath’s Daughter sequel when you dropped it to work on the Yamada novel.
WRITER: Exactly why I’m not working on it.
MUSE: You do realize that makes no sense? The Yamada is with First Reader. You’ve already caught up with all her notes so far, so you’re free to work on the other book while you’re waiting.
WRITER: When I write out “The End” on the Yamada novel, then and only then will I be free to work on the other book. Why do you think I stopped work on the one to work on the other? I focus when I write, and I can’t focus on two books at the same time.
MUSE: You don’t have the knack?
WRITER: Heh. Nice try. I’ve finally learned the difference between things I simply cannot do and things I don’t have the “knack” for. “Knack” can be developed.
MUSE: Sounds like an excuse.
WRITER: Everything’s an excuse to you if it’s not what you want to hear.
MUSE: It’s true I don’t like excuses.
WRITER: I can’t work on another book until I finish the last one. Sorry, but my brain is very linear that way.
MUSE: You do know that there are at least two whole readers who are going to be pissed that the sequel is taking so long?
WRITER (sighing): I know. Well, three, actually. A friend has been nudging me too.
MUSE: Also, on “Bad Moon Rising”? You’re totally botching the tempo on the chorus, you know.
WRITER (heavier sigh): I know. Dammit.