Good Narrative Principles

My Muse


On Monday she is dressed in ballet shoes (pink) that smell like leather, fish net stockings, mini skirt and rust colored sweater. Underneath it all she wears Carter’s underwear. Pure blue eyeglasses. With little jewels on each side. No earrings. No smile. She speaks the truth. Always the truth. Whispers it in my ear. I can count on her to pour it into my head straight. No chaser. She is before the notion of chasers or weed or wobbly walks down the street. She is before crazy go for it lust. But not before the witnessing of secret whispers of which you are not a part. This is OK ultimately. Because she feeds on it. The finely tuned observations of an outsider. Sting mixed with jaded humor.

On Tuesday she is a he. A football player, a soccer coach with a whistle perched in his mouth. Blowing the whistle and spitting it out along with the short percussive words “foul” and “out” and “step to it” “make it shorter” “tighten it up” blow the whistle again. Four toots and time to go to the gym. On Tuesday my Muse burns hot is demanding and then leaves. Game over.

On Wednesday my Muse has two rolls of fat around her midriff. She lingers over my meditation, interrupts my writing to coax me upstairs. Make yourself a peanut butter and banana sandwich she whispers. She loves to dress in fur lined things and stops from time to time to cut my cuticles. Pick my hair. Brush my teeth. Re-read for the umpteenth time what I wrote a few days back. And then finally after lunch she settles down and murmurs the secrets I need to hear before calling a cab so she can head home for a mid-day nap.

On Thursday my Muse dresses in skin tight clothes, wears high heels. Though I protest loudly, the heels don’t work with my inflamed knees she carries on. Cranks up the intensity and lets it roll. It doesn’t make sense I yell above the insistent beat. She doesn’t care. It’s all passion, energy, pumping white hot. Not one useful conversation or bit of dialogue but maybe a crumb. An angle a sentence a look that seems real. Truthful. No bullshit.

On Friday my Muse shows up in a suit and tie. An itchy woolen suit and tie on a hot summer day. He wants to be anywhere but here. At the desk. Figuring it out. He drags his feet. His shoes are immaculately polished. Wingtips that fit perfectly. Socks that never bunch or itch. It’s the suit that itches. The tie comes off between ten and eleven. The jacket is hung up neatly on the coat rack. The pants folded at the seam, turned upside down. Coins jingle out. And lo there is a boner. A beautiful hard on as my Muse strikes a chord and there is suddenly a connection. Something unexpected beneath the itchy suit.

On Saturday my Muse is distracted. Lets face it. She wears summer dresses. Her hair is in a French braids. She speaks foreign languages. Is more interested in collecting daises to decorate her hair, her long curly hair than to sit beside me and work it through. Her gift to me is her laugh. Like birdsong radio during a snow storm. A reminder that it’s not all fucked up. It’s just not all that focused either. She touches down. Toenails painted with bright green nail polish. Fingers hiding smiles. Lipstick a soft pink blush. She yearns for the fresh air. She wants more than anything to fill her lungs and let it all go. And then she guides me to that light touch. The moment that takes the melo out of drama.

On Sunday my Muse is more like Farmer Jones. He might work. He might not. Depends on the season. He wears shit kickers and suspenders. He’s looking forward to making a roaring fire and stuffing tobacco in his pipe and sitting back and thinking of nothing. He looks to the world and tells me it was ever thus. He reminds me of the dispassionate tree or robin perched in the tree watching the woman pack up the car with the kids and the dog and leave while the husband sleeps it off. The big drama down below. The air up there where people have always loved and hurt and lost each other along the way. And the hunger to make it happen. Make it grow. Let the story take root.

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