On the weekends (no way am I getting la muse to show her face on a weeknight–though sometimes she wafts out of the wall) I hunt for her–under the bed, in the hot water closet behind the tank, behind the sofa, behind the books in the book case for goodness sake!
“Come outta there!” She pretends like she doesn’t hear me. “You come outta there or I’m gonna post your true name on the blog.”
She “mists” forth, gathers herself, and manifests, gaze downcast, shoulders drooping, fingers twisting anxiously. She’s wet–been wading again in the river Lethe, I guess. She’s got spiderwebs in her hair; her jeans are frayed at the bottom; her feet are muddy, and her t-shirt says: wtf. (Don’t know what she’s done with the lovely sapphire and silver drapery she used to wear.)
“Look, you don’t have to do very much. Just give me an opening line to the new scene, or maybe an image.”
She glances at me under-eyed, and pretends deep interest in the river weed under her uneven nails.
Big heavy sigh from me. No good yelling at her. I stare at her for a tick or two. I couldn’t get her to sign a contract. Matter of fact, she burst into tears when I presented her with the foolscap. Only stopped bawling when I tore it into little bits.
“Okay. How ‘bout you just hang around a bit, dangle from a ceiling corner if you like. I’m not gonna ask you anything. Just gonna sit here on the couch with my tablet and pen–“
She starts feathering away.
“Oh wait! Wait!” Yellow tablet and inkpen under the couch quick. “I’ll get Mac, okay? You like Mac, right? Non-threatening and all.” (The paper and pen mean real work; the Mac is silver and shiny and she likes to stare at the white screen along with me. When I type a word, she watches to see if I’m gonna type another one.)
She recollects her floaty bits, and drips a little less Hades water on the carpet.
I settle with Mac on my lap, fire up, and open the WIP. “You don’t have to talk, but if you want to drop a word or two my way, I’m grateful.”
She drifts to the far arm of the couch, perches there. A mermaid comb appears in her hand and she strokes away the spiderwebs, pausing a moment to give me a speaking look.
I scurry to the kitchen and return with her gin and tonic. In a bit she wafts over to my corner of the couch and breathes the faint odor of lime over my shoulder. “Word,” she says.