FADE IN: Writer’s home office. You know the drill. WRITER is at the desk.
MUSE enters from somewhere. Since she has no corporeal form, egress and exeunt are rather flexible concepts to her. She appears to be wearing a sari.
MUSE: How was the kirtan last night?
WRITER: Great. The first chant was to Sarasvati, the goddess of the arts and music, and I need all the help I can get in both areas. It gave me an excuse to sing in a group where no one could hear me. Plus the instrumentation was much better than the first one.
MUSE: You’re just saying that because guitars were involved.
WRITER: How did you–?
MUSE: Don’t finish that, unless you’re a bigger idiot than I think you are. You were there, so I was there. It’s not complicated.
WRITER: Okay, fine. That was a bonus. All three of the performers were good, and two were playing classical style. I don’t get to see that very often. Amazed that I could tell that one of the chants was just a G, Cadd9, and A. I could probably play that.
MUSE: Should I even point out that you’re neither Hindu nor Jain?
WRITER: True, but what has that got to do with anything?
MUSE: Absolutely nothing. Not unlike what you’re writing now. Because, like your current project, the kirtan had little to do with getting the next novel written.
WRITER: Very funny. I just finished a novel, remember? I’m taking a break from them for a little while.
MUSE: Bull. You’re working on short stories instead because you’re being perverse.
MUSE: Perverse in its correct, original meaning. Remember Edgar Allan Poe’s “Imp of the Perverse”?
WRITER: Yes, it was an imaginary creature that kept him procrastinating on writing projects until it was too late. Unlike imaginary creatures who bug me about writing. Well, I’m writing. Doesn’t apply.
MUSE: Wrong, as usual. You know you should be doing one thing, so you insist on doing something else entirely. It’s exactly the same. That the thing you shouldn’t be doing is also writing doesn’t change that fact.
WRITER: Neither the next novel nor the short story is under contract, so how do you figure I “should” be doing one of them as opposed to the other?
MUSE: You said you’d work on the novel next. You’re not. That’s perverse.
WRITER: Merely contrary. And I will get the novel done, but right now is not its turn.
MUSE: That’s not the point. You’re not doing what you’d said you’d do. You broke a promise. To yourself, if no one else.
WRITER: True, but only to avoid breaking a greater one. The first one.
WRITER: I promised myself that, since I was never going to make a living doing this, I was free to write exactly what I wanted to write, when I wanted to write it. If I do anything else, I break that promise, and that one I’m keeping.
MUSE: Oh. That one.
WRITER: The ur-promise. I keep that one, or there really is no point to all this. Or you, for that matter.
MUSE: Hmmm, good point. Okay, but there are people who want to read that novel, you know, and have told you so.
WRITER: There are people who want to read this short story. They just don’t know it yet.
MUSE (sighs): You really are perverse.
WRITER: And damn proud.