I’m resisting the urge to close my notebook and toss my pen across the room. I still can’t focus. My mind keeps bouncing around–I should really start thinking about my garden. I love looking through seed catalogs. I can’t wait for it to warm up. Woo-hoo! It’ll be double digits above zero when I walk down the driveway to get the mail. I’ve got a book review to write. No, I really need to write this scene. I’ve got two chapters of beta reading to do this weekend. I love Christmas lights, but I suppose I should put them away. Am I going to be able to finish that blanket I’ve been crocheting for the past–yikes, that long?–before my daughter graduates? Hey, where’s the cat?
Arrgh. This is my brain on a severe lack of resolve. Or rather, focus. Where is my damn Muse?
Aaaannd . . .
*clock ticks echo in the room*
I set my notebook down (no, I don’t throw it across the room, as satisfying as that would be) and open the door to my writing office.
Nada. No one in sight.
O-kay. I head to the other door, the one that opens onto the beach/woods/field/–you get the picture. Steel-gray clouds brood over wind-roughened water. The Adirondack chairs at the edge of the beach’s sandy shore are empty.
What the hell?
I close the door, fully expecting my Muse to pop in. Except he doesn’t. “Hey,” I say into the empty office, “where are you?”
Remember the Batphone from the old Batman show from the 60s? I’ve got one like it (but way cooler) that’s a direct line to my Muse. I pick it up.
No dial tone.
This isn’t right. He wouldn’t just leave.
A curl of dread twists in my gut. He can’t leave. He’s my Muse. I toggle the cradle button. Still no dial tone. Crap. After hanging up the phone, I pace. Where could he be? “Hey, look, I’m sorry about the last few weeks.” My voice echoes in the room. “C’mon. Where are you?”
A knock at the back door. When I open it, my book dragon’s head fills the doorway, her red eyes glowing like Christmas lights against shiny green scales.
I scratch her chin. “Thanks for coming, but I’m not looking for you right now. Have you seen my Muse?”
She draws back. *Really? I’m a perfectly good muse, you know.*
“I know. But I’m not working on a fantasy right now. I need my Muse. Have you seen him?”
She rolls her eyes. *Maybe.*
“What do you mean, ‘maybe’? Where is he?”
*He told me not to tell.*
“Are you kidding me? He told you? Why can’t he hear me?”
*Oh, he can hear you just fine.*
“Then why isn’t he here?”
She shrugs, stretches one gold-green wing. *He said something about appreciating the work he does. Oh, and something about how it feels to be ignored.*
Oh. My. Gawd. “Seriously? Tell him I need to talk to him.”
*He said I wasn’t supposed to be a go-between. Talk to him yourself. He can hear you.* With that, she turns and shoves into the air, wings sweeping down and kicking up wind as she climbs toward the low clouds.
What the hell? It’s not like this is the first time I’ve ever been stuck. And I’ve got a few extra weeks before my editor gets my manuscript back to me, so I need to finish the draft of Book 2. The notebook helps, but I’ve been letting myself get distracted. I need my Muse to be here.
I close the door. I’m not ignoring him. I’m just … dammit. I’ve been forgetting stuff, stuff that’s important but not writing-important. Life-important. Family stuff. And I’ve had a few discussions–not heated, but more than casual–with my husband about stuff I was supposed to remember but didn’t. I’ve even started bullet journaling to try and get a handle on it.
“You need to focus, love.”
My lungs stop working for a moment. I turn. My Muse is kicked back in one of the recliners in the corner, hands behind his head, legs crossed at the ankles on the footrest.
“Where the hell have you been?”
“Ignoring you. How does it feel?”
“I haven’t been ignoring you. I’ve been thinking about my books–that’s probably why I keep forgetting other stuff.”
He shakes his head. “If you’ve been thinking about your books, why is it you haven’t done any writing since before Christmas?”
“Because …” I falter. “I’ve started working on my presentation for the Writers’ Institute, and I’m doing a beta read. And I finished–”
“Excuses. Whatever happened to spending one or two hours a night writing, hmm? Tell me that.”
“I …” I’ve been slacking. Badly. And every night I chastise myself for it.
My Muse lowers the footrest and pushes out of the chair. “You need to get your shit together, love.” He waves a finger at me as a fedora appears on his head and a bullwhip materializes on his belt. “You’ve got stuff going on, but if you’re serious about this, you have to figure it out. You’ve done it before, why are you having such a hard time now?”
He’s right. And I think a lot of it boils down to waiting for my editor to get my manuscript back to me, because I know I’ll have to work on that. Which is stupid. I’ve got the time now, before I have any deadlines, to work on stuff, especially Book 2. And my presentation, which I actually do have a soft deadline for.
My Muse nods. “And there it is. You know what you should be doing, love, so do it. Hell, schedule it. You know your husband will hold you to it. He’ll send you off to write.”
He will. He has in the past. “You’ll stay here, right?”
A crooked smile brightens his face. “Me and my whip.”
I think I hear the Indiana Jones theme song in the background.
Another weekend, and dammit, I will work on my draft. Or my presentation. My son is heading back to school, so that’s one distraction out of the way. After a break in routine courtesy of the holidays, it always seems to take extra effort to get back into it. And we might even crack the freezing temperature this week–heat wave!
Have a good weekend all, and get some writing done. I will. Promise.