Stephen King in his writing manual said his muse was a shady guy who lived in the basement, drinking all his beer, smoking like a chimney and hoarding a bag of goodies. King didn’t really like the guy but he respected him. So anytime he needed new stories, he would leave his comfortable writing den, journey to that basement and court his obnoxious muse for that bag.
This imagery tickled me and seemed quite fitting for Stephen King. Still caught up in existential angst over My Writing and the Meaning of It All, I pondered whether making my muse more tangible by putting a face, clothes and personality to it, would also help ideas become more tangible. My notion of a muse has been insubstantial and wispy like smoke, much like some of my ideas. King is a successful writer, loves his craft and it doesn’t hurt that he has money in the bank to boot. If he could dream up a muse, could I do it? And if I could think it, would it come? So I sat in my own writing den, closed my eyes, and imagined my muse taking form behind me on the futon. What would she look like? What would I say to her? How do you court a muse anyway?
Things didn’t bode well when my first thought on beholding my muse was, “Oh, hell no,” for there he sprawled, clad in black leather and offering a splendid profile and coiffed black locks. This was no ephemeral spirit ready to wave its magic wand. He was Guy of Gisborne, S2, not too much guyliner, just enough stubble. Clearly I had the FanstRAvaganza project on the brain, but I was looking for my muse, not a character. I wondered about the significance of conjuring S2 Guy over S3 but that wasn’t important at the moment.
“What are you doing here?,” I thought. “There’s no way I’m writing you fanfic!”
He turned amused blue eyes towards me and then back at a red velvet bag bouncing lightly in his hand. The bag of goodies! Surmising that lunging for it wouldn’t work, I changed tactics.
“Say,” I thought, “you and I should talk but maybe after you change into something a little more muse-y like Cate Blanchett in The Ring.” A brow arched. “Or maybe like Halle Berry in that organza number she wore to the Oscars.”
The brow arched higher.
“You can even be Gollum, but this is really too much.”
The bag stopped bouncing. He glared, unfurled from the futon and stepped into nothingness with the bag of goodies being the last to disappear like the Cheshire cat’s smile.
Maybe criticizing my muse’s appearance wasn’t the best way to handle the situation. After all, it’s all about the experiment, regaining my creativity and getting that bag of goodies, right? My fevered imaginings don’t matter. I’ll have to get him back somehow.
But I’m not writing him any fanfic.