86. Your Muse:
“Who’s your muse?” my friend, Laurel asked me one day as we sat at the kitchen table drinking red wine.
“What?” I replied.
“Your muse,” she repeated, rolling her eyes. “Come on, you’ve only had three glasses, surely you can’t be drunk already?”
“I’m not drunk, I just didn’t understand your question,” I said firmly.
“What’s to understand?! You’re a writer so obviously you get your inspiration from somewhere and all great writers have a muse, so I wondered, who’s yours?”
I thought for a moment.
“God, I don’t know,” I said, wrinkling up my mouth and furrowing my brow. “I’ve never thought about it and honestly, I don’t think I have one.”
“You HAVE to have one!” Laurel rolled her eyes again.
“You just said all great writers, but I’m not a great writer,” I stated matter-of-factly.
“Of COURSE you are!” she replied. “Why would you have so many articles being published if they didn’t like your work?”
“Because they’re desperate?”I wasn’t sure really myself, but I didn’t think it was because they particularly liked my work.
A knock on the front door snapped us both out of our discussion and I rose to answer it, but managed to trip on the leg of my chair.
Laurel’s eyes rolled for the third time in less than 10 minutes and she waved her hand at me as if to say, “Never mind,” and went to see who it was.
She was only gone for a few minutes and when she came back she was holding a small envelope addressed to me. She flung it down and sat back in her chair.
“Go on, open it,” she demanded. “Who the hell still writes letters? And more importantly, who’s writing to you?”
I didn’t know either. My great-uncle had been the only person who ever wrote letters to me and he’d passed away early last year so unless he was speaking from the grave, I didn’t know who it was from.
There was a return address on the back but the name wasn’t familiar.
I tore it open and pulled out a single sheet of lined, white paper.
“What does it say?” Laurel raised her eyebrows at me.
I scrolled quickly through the contents and my own eyebrows shot up in surprise.
“It’s a fan letter,” I stammered. “A letter from someone who likes my work.”
Laurel nodded as if it wasn’t so surprising and crossed her arms looking smug.
“See, I TOLD you. People like your work!”
Maybe, I thought, but that still didn’t answer Laurel’s question. If I was a great writer and didn’t have a muse, surely I needed to find one. Would my writing get better if I had one? And what kind of woman would she need to be? More importantly, why did she need to be a woman? This whole muse thing was so sexist and clearly outdated.
Fuck it, I thought. I’m finding me a good man. Now… where to find one?
And that ladies and gentlemen (but particularly ladies!), is the million dollar question.