A room that passes for an office. There are bookshelves on two walls, a motley assortment of carvings, signed storyboards, and five guitars, but a lot of it isn’t on the walls yet. Except for the five guitars of various makes and models. The desk faces a blank wall. To the left is a window, and beyond that is a brown radiator cover with a printer perched on top. The floor holds paint, tools, and painting supplies, and an unopened window unit A/C awaiting installation. Rather like the artwork. WRITER is sitting at the desk staring at an almost blank screen. MUSE enters. From somewhere. She’s in Greek Goddess mode.
Muse: So these are the new digs. It’s a mess.
Writer: Don’t pretend to be surprised. This isn’t your first visit.
Muse: You mean while you were writing that last book? I had nothing to do with that.
Writer: So who was that, then? Your evil twin?
Muse: Nonsense. I AM my evil twin. I said I had nothing to do with the last book. I didn’t say I wasn’t here.
Writer: Is that an editorial comment? I thought the book turned out rather well.
Muse: You would, but that’s not what I meant. I meant you didn’t need me. Unusually for you, you had it pretty much worked out before you even started and you weren’t waiting for inspiration. You were going blue blazes most of the time. It was almost…impressive.
Writer: It’s not as if I had much choice. The deadline was fast approaching and I got a late start because of the move. So much got blown up last year. I was damned if I was going to let what passes for my writing career do the same.
Writer: And the series had been heading for this ever since it began, so it wasn’t as if I could get lost now. I did know where I was going, but that’s only because your job was done before I even started. That really was impressive. Not to mention efficient.
Muse: I’ll take that as a compliment. So what now?
Writer (blinking): What…? I should be asking you that. Isn’t that your job?
Muse: I’m only a convenient personification of the idea of inspiration, remember? I’m just in your head…along with whatever debris and found objects you turn into stories. So let me hand you a little bit of insight–you don’t get inspired.
Writer: I don’t…?
Muse (shaking her head): Never did. What you do is recognize stories when you see them, and then you follow them until they’ve given up their secrets. So why am I even here?
Writer: Well…I talk to myself.
Muse: I’ve noticed that.
Writer: Then you should understand I feel a little more anchored when I’m talking to someone else instead. That’s you.
Muse: Can’t imagine why. I’m just another voice in your head.
Writer: Say rather a convenient personification of the idea of inspiration, remember? Not quite the same thing. Besides, I don’t buy your argument. Recognizing a story IS inspiration, so far as I’m concerned. You’re just pissed because there wasn’t as much left for you to do on the last project and you got bored. Fine. It’s time for a new project.
Muse: Have it your way. I’ll try to help you out with the winkling out its secrets part. No promises on the inspiration part. We’ll see if you’re right.
Writer: All I ask.
MUSE: You do know I’m going to keep bugging you about the state of this office, right?
Writer: Wouldn’t expect anything less.