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Ignoring the Muse

Ah, the busy Christmas season … what can I tell you? During the decoration of the Christmas tree, my 8 yr old son demanded: “Mom, where are the hookers for my balls?!” and despite the fact that I was recovering from week-long flu and a slow slide from hypermania to meh, I nearly pissed myself laughing. Of course he meant the hooks for the ornaments, but they will evermore be known in this house as “ball hookers”.

<Mommy buys all her ball hookers at Wal-Mart>

Then, a few days before Christmas, a formerly-sane writer friend of mine stage-whispered directly into my left eye, “Have you seen any ravens lately?” Since he was wheezing on high-alert, I hesitantly admitted, “Uh, sure. I mean, not actual ravens, per se. Ravens are generally found in northern Ontario, we have crows down here, but yeah, I’ve seen em.”  And then, even more hesitantly, I asked, “Erm, why?” He proceeded to insist from between bared teeth, “They’re trying to tell you something.”

Well of course they are, I thought. Those pesky ravens are always trying to impart mystical secrets to lunatics. I kept my cheeky “is he trying to say ‘Nevermore’?” trapped on my tongue. Good girl, Allison.  Like I don’t have enough to worry about, now I gotta learn to translate Crow-to-CrazyPerson? That sounds like more of a summer activity to me. Can it wait? Can they send me an email, so I can Google-translate that shit?

Finally, last night, after the clean-up of a triumphant, Gordon Ramsay-inspired Christmas feast and the departure of my guests, I was so exhausted from the running around and entertaining that by 8 pm I could no longer handle being unsettled and motile–wait, I’ve never heard the word “motile” used to describe anything but sperm, lemme it–uhh, movingambulatory … no … what I’m trying to say, rather unsuccessfully, is: I dragged my sleepy ass to bed before 8:30.

This morning, I was shaken awake by my own brain cells, a cerebral earthquake rolling in at just under blerg-point-shit on the Richter scale.  *consults headset* I’m being informed there is no such rating. If I were the scientist in charge of rating natural disasters (and it’s obvious that I should be), you better believe there’d be a blerg-point-shit. It would be the harbinger of fuck-point-runforyourlife.

What woke me wasn’t actually an earthquake or headache, it was habit. It was the muse.

<You remember my muse, Cedric, aka Mephistopheles*>

The muse is a tricky bastard. He doesn’t come when he’s called; he plays coy when he’s needed, and sits on your face when it’s impossible to find time to create. This morning, surrounded by family and matters of domesticity, I haven’t time to write the scene that my muse–Cedric–is trying to stamp into my ear like cheesecake through a funnel. I barely have the concentration to listen to his (admittedly delicious) rotten idea, nevermind give it the time it deserves to percolate and fester. This pressure on my time, however, does nothing to dissuade Cedric.

Cedric: So, listen, Gams, I’been thinkin’…

Me(from under a mountain of pillows): No you haven’t.

Cedric: … if Marnie’s neighbour came over …

Me: She won’t.

Cedric: But if she did, because of the noises…

Me: No noises.

Cedric: Uh, yes noises. You said noises. You wrote noises.

Me: Fuck noises.

Cedric: So, I was thinking, she wouldn’t talk to Marnie directly.

Me: I … am sleeping.

Cedric: Marnie’s a man’s woman. Other women hate her.

Me: Mrph?

Cedric: The neighbour would report the noises to Harry as though Marnie was invisible, no?

Me: Who’s Marnie? What neighbour?

Cedric: *long sigh* Little less giggle water next time, Gams.

At this point, I smirk under the pillow at myself; since Cedric is part of my brain–one assumes, since I do not believe my muse is a seperate, sentient entity gifting me with creative input–that means somewhere in my brain, I know what giggle water is, have heard/learned the phrase before, but the term surprises me, and I am amazed that one part of my brain can surprise the other with a phrase “we” were not expecting. How’d “we” do that? Cedric gets impatient with my mental meandering and starts jabbing me in the grey cells repeatedly–pokepokepokepokepoke–until I give him an affirmative “I’m listening” groan. 

Cedric continues: Marnie’s our protagonist.

Me: Giggle water. *gears catch* Booze. I’m tired. T. Y. E. R. D. Tired. I’m not hungover. 

Cedric: You’re Finnish. (As if this explains everything) 

Me: And where do you get off calling her OUR protagonist?

Cedric. Shake a leg, Gams, time to write.

Me: Time to– it’s only … (I pop out from under pillows to squint nearsightedly at the alarm clock–I’m also getting whateverthehell the opposite of myopic is, so I move my head closer to the alarm clock, but not too close, jerking my chin back and forth until I can juuuuust make out the numbers, to eventually report with the confidence of a blind woman petting a dead cat:) …9:30!

Cedric: It’s Monday. You write Mon-Fri 9-3. No exceptions.

Me: It’s Boxing Day. The family is home.

Cedric: And?

Me: And go away.

Cedric: Don’t give me that.

Me: I’ll also give you a big helping of Scram & Beat it, with a side order of Bite Me.

Cedric: Speaking of biting, the neighbour has this dog, right? The labradoodle?

Me: *long, drawn-out moan, followed by aggravated re-burial under pillows*

Cedric: Well, you’ve got to address that the labradoodle doesn’t like Harry, because you’ve already mentioned–

Me: I’ll kill the dog! I’ll kill Harry! I’LL KILL MARNIE! Let me sleep.

Cedric: How the hell would you kill Marnie? The book is first person point-of-view. 

Me: I’ll end it suddenly in the 3rd chapter like so: “The zombie’s gaping maw darted at my face and I–gluk! THE END”.

Cedric(yelping): You can’t do that!


Cedric: OK, settle down there, Atilla.


Cedric. OK, Gams, you win this round.


Cedric: Sure. Right. It’s your show. *full-on snark* Go back to sleep, “author”. I wouldn’t want anything to interrupt your precious sleep, “author”. You know, those thousands of oh-so-fruitful hours you spend lying around getting absolutely everything accomplished, “author”, while your tiny “author” brain ferments and your useless “author” muscles atrophy.

Me: I will skullfuck you with a strap-on.

At this point, the Viking I married rolls over and goes, “hrmph? Je-zus. Crazy fuckin’ …” and flees the bedroom,  lumbering off in search of coffee and probably a good divorce lawyer. I look at the alarm clock again, this time fumbling for my glasses. What I’d thought was a 9 is a 4. It’s 4:45 am. Lesson learned: talking aloud to one’s muse is acceptable only if a) one is alone or one is not overheard and b) it’s not before dawn.

So now I’m cleaning the house and …well, no I’m not, am I? I’m sitting on my ass, blogging. Such a big fat liar. But I will clean the house soon (no, I won’t. I never do) and deal with all this Christmas aftermath (nope, won’t do that either, I’m playing World of Warcraft all fucking day today) and then maybe I’ll let Cedric talk to me about his new idea. Because he has a point: the neighbour wouldn’t like Marnie any more than the dog would like Harry, and if I introduce these facts early, then when the labradoodle returns to their front step as a pestilent, undead goop-factory on a leash, without its doting owner–the implication being that somewhere the owner is dead or also zombified–the scene has more context and substance, the relationship has more history. It feels more like “oh yeah, that dog” than “Marnie has neighbours?” … yes, Cedric has a point. Damn him.

ps. Exciting news! I have another Taking It to the Grave interview all lined-up … I know, it’s been a while since I did one. But it was worth the wait, because this time, it’s the #pubwrite-infamous Mythcop, aka Jesse James Freeman, who has released his highly-anticipated novel Billy Purgatory: I Am The Devil Bird; since he’s afraid I might put him in a headlock and give him noogies while talking mushy baby-talk at him, he’s kindly agreed to let me interview him. HOORAY!

(editor’s note: AJ Aalto in no way drugged, coerced, threatened or blackmailed Mr. Freeman to agree to the upcomming interview … but reserves the right to do so in future, should Mr. Freeman prove to be less pliable than her former vict–er, guests. *grin*)

(*artsy note: the portrait of Mephistopheles was painted by artist James J. Himsworth 3, which totally sounds like a made-up name. OK, I’m only saying that cuz I’m jealous that he can paint. Also, that he has that number in his name, and I don’t. I only have stupid letters. There’s not even a symbol. Fuckin’ letters. I’m going to start calling myself AJ8 A2alto … my tag line will be “she is not the droid you are looking for” …)

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One Response to Ignoring the Muse

  1. RJ Davnall says:

    Sorry, hun, if your muse is anything like mine, he’s a separate person. And yes, you do have to share credit. Still, he appears to be hot, so swings and roundabouts, right?

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