Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

Muse-ing Boundaries


“Stop.” My Muse blocks the entry to my writing area.

“Outta my way.” I don’t try to push past him. He’s a six-foot-two-inch speciman of toned masculine energy wearing the visage of an Australian dancer/model/actor. Any effort on my part to physically move him would be fruitless, unless, of course, the point is to get up close and personal. Not in that kind of mood right now (though if I thought about it, I’d probably change my mind).

“No.” He shoves me back. “I’m not letting you do that, love. Not that way.”

Gads, the agitation tensing my shoulders is creeping into my gut. “I can’t stand it anymore. I have to do something.” I launch my soapbox at him.

He catches it without blinking. “You are not going to get on this thing and rant. It’d be stupid and ineffective, and you know it.”

“Give me that.” I reach for my soapbox.

He holds it above his head. “No. And I’m not letting you have it back until you promise me you’ll just use it for a footrest.”

“Dammit, just let me use it for a few minutes. I need to–”

“We talked about this, love. No ranting on Facebook, Twitter, or your author blog. Especially not your author blog.” With a little effort, and some nice muscle flexing, he somehow collapses my soapbox into a flat board about an inch thick, then waves it at me like a school marm with a rod. “Write a short story. Write a lot of short stories. Don’t just rant.”

I hate this. Effing politics–hell, it’s not even the election year yet, and I’m seething at the blatant idiocy of–

He grabs my arm with one hand and my chin with the other, forcing me to stop and look at him. “I said no ranting.” He shoves me back, face red, eyes blazing with a cold that makes a Minnesota blizzard in January look like a tropical heat wave. “Short stories. Hell, long stories. Fiction that shadows today’s atmosphere, science fiction that reflects what might happen or the results of what happened in the past, or urban fantasy. I don’t care which, but that’s how you do it. Got it?”

“Who are you, Jiminy Cricket? You’re not my conscience, you’re my Muse.”

“I hope your Jiminy Cricket is a fecking fire-breathing dragon today so it can keep you in line.” He looks over my shoulder. I turn.

Night-fury-01Sure enough, it’s a Night Fury in iridescent scarlet with flaming eyes. Interesting development, though: it’s focused on my Muse, not on me. A vein in his forehead swells like a fire hose under pressure. “Really?” he addresses my conscience. “You so don’t want to go there.”

My conscience opens its mouth, and rows of razor teeth pop up from its gums. “I don’t think it’s scared of you.”

My Muse directs his full attention to me. “I’m not looking for scared, love. I’m looking to adjust its attitude.”

A tight coil of nerves sizzles in my gut when his ice-blue gaze locks to mine. Then it hits me, that musty scent of old books laced with aged leather and fresh coffee, chased by the loamy perfume of autumn with a hint of sunshine. My creative energy surfaces and extinguishes the burning agitation, replacing it with anticipation. My fingers flex; I need to write.

He glances over my shoulder once again. My conscience, now a subdued royal blue instead of brilliant red, yawns and vanishes. “Much better.” He gestures into my writing area. “After you.”

“Ass,” is about all I can muster at this point.

“You forgot the ‘pain in the’ part.”

Sigh. I had a nice amount of mad going, too. I scribble out the entry on my whiteboard agenda for “political and social commentary”, and the one below it, “I see ignorant myopic people”, and add an entry for my WIP outline revision. I snap the cap back onto the dry-erase marker. “There. Happy?”

“You’ll be happier with this to-do list, trust me.”

I’m not so sure about that, but he is right. About the boundaries, I mean.

A wild shout-out to my writing sister who released her women’s historical fiction book (and neglected to tell the rest of us). Congrats, C!

Have you popped on over to the Meet Your Main Character site this month? We’re featuring the story of a traveling electrician–what a great idea for a protagonist (or antagonist) in a mystery. Or a romance, if you prefer. Don’t forget to check out our Top 5 lists!

I’ll update you on the garden next week. Things are winding down (yay!), but I’ve still got a lot of stuff in there. I’m going to try making kale chips this weekend. Might have to pickle some peppers, too (and no, I’m not going to invite Peter Piper over to pick any). I think we’ll have enough tomatoes for another 7-quart round of canning. Whew!

May your weekend be filled with writing, lots of writing!


Author: Julie Holmes, author

Pen names: J. M. Holmes, J. M. Goebel A fiction writer since elementary school (many years ago), and NaNoWriMo annual participant for a decade, I've been published in small press magazines such as "Fighting Chance" and "The Galactic Citizen". I write adult mystery with a touch of romance, mystery with extrasensory elements, contemporary fantasy, and epic fantasy, and I'm represented by the fabulous Cynthia Zigmund of Second City Publishing Services. In real life, I am a technical writer with a family of two teens, a wonderful hubby, one cat (what writer doesn't have cats??), two dogs, two chickens, and more chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits than any garden should have to deal with. My garden, our hobby farm, and Nature's annual seasons are some of my muses.

8 thoughts on “Muse-ing Boundaries

  1. Love the battles between you and your muse. He has his own collapsible soapbox, doesn’t he? And is he ever wrong? He would drive me crazy being so right all the time (and handsomely smug about it). Kale chips are delish. Have fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Enjoyed meeting your muse – what a hunk! May I borrow him? Fun to read about your conflict. Have a great weekend yourself and kale chips..sound delicious but never tried any.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your interactions with your muse are always highly entertaining, LOL. BTW, I happen to adore a certain Night Fury by the name of Toothless….but then I think you might already know that. 🙂 I’m actually off to tackle writing now!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you enjoyed it! I love Toothless–my fave of all the dragons in the HTTYD movies. Love how he’s so cat-like. Hope your writing went well; I’m making slow progress on my WIP. Hoping there won’t be much Algebra II homework this week (a sophomore in the house really cramps my writing time). 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Do you have a monster holding you back? | jean's writing

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