This is a little something that's been bubbling inside of my head for a while. I've been wrestling with my muse for months and months regarding my story, and this is what she sent me instead. I had a different idea in mind, and it seems my muse had another - which is why I feel this piece might be misnamed, but... oh well. Enjoy.

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Waking the Muse

"Hey, wake up!" An insistent voice pulled at me, dragging me to consciousness.

"Hmmm wha?"

"C' mon, I mean it, get up!" The voice was more insistent this time, more demanding. Reaching up, I flicked on the small light near the bed and lay still for a moment, forcing myself to wake up. The room was still; next to me lay my partner, snoring softly. Beside the bed I could hear the dog shift and twitch, chasing imaginary rabbits in far-off fields. There was nobody else in the room.

Shaking my head, I turned off the light and settled back into the pillows. Must've been dreaming...but it seemed so real. I snuggled closer to my love and let my eyes drift shut.


"Look, I told you to get up!" This time I sat straight up, turned the light on quickly and looked around. Still nobody.

Sleepily, my partner shifted, "Hon? What's going on?"

"Did you hear that?"

"Hmm? Hear what baby?"

"Uh, I... well, I could have sworn I heard someone telling me to get up." I shrugged, and chuckled as she poked me in the leg. "I know, you warned me about eating those spicy sausages before bed."

"G' back t' schleep babe..." Barely awake for our conversation, my sweetie drifted back off to dreamland, leaving me alone (I hoped) once again.

I tried one last time, feeling a little foolish. "Uh, is someone here?"

Only silence, broken by the competing snores of my love and the dog, reached my ears.

I reached to turn off the light when the voice came again. "You're up now, let's move, I have things to say!"

Oh damn.

I knew that voice. It's her. My muse.


"Go 'way," I mumble, knowing that if I give in, I'll be up all night.

"No." Her scratchy voice had a petulant ring to it. She's stubborn, my muse is. Fickle, but stubborn.

I've been through this before with her. I know that if I don't get up right now and put word to page, I'll regret it. She'll either hang around and badger me, in and out of my dreams, or she'll abandon me altogether, leaving me to fumble with the leftover fragments she chooses to leave behind. Either way, I'll get very little sleep and will have crap to show for trying to recreate her brilliance at a later date. You either take it as it comes or not at all, that's how muses work. Or, that's how my muse works.

I have a friend, more of an acquaintance really, who rules her muse with militant ease. She writes from 8 am to 4 pm daily, cranking out best-selling romance novels. Two each year, without fail. They're historical and even mildly entertaining in their own way. This woman doesn't take any guff from her muse, she expects her to report each and every day for duty, rain or shine, and darned if her muse doesn't do just that.

My muse, however, is not one to be commanded in any fashion. She comes and goes as she pleases, mostly choosing to arrive in the wee hours of the morning, or worse, just as I'm falling asleep. And she's never, ever come when I've called her.

Sighing, I resign myself to another sleepless night and carefully crawl out of bed. My love sleepily shifts, pulling my pillow closer to her head and mumbling incoherently about Microsoft and threads. The dog, now pulled from his imaginary bunny-filled fields, gives me a dirty look and yawns loudly. He knows the drill.

As I get up and toss on whatever clothes are handy, he leads the way to my home office, curling up with a grunt on his other bed, the small quilt near my chair. Within seconds, he's snoring softly again. I'm not really sure why he bothers, but I'm warmed by his sleepy loyalty.

I yawn as I settle into my leather chair, rubbing my eyes as the computer screen comes to glaring bright life before me. As I pull up a blank page I wonder again about my elusive muse.

Michelangelo's muse was beautiful, or so I assume. Graceful limbs of alabaster rising from the Italian marble, delicate features that delight the eye... no wonder the man was a master. I've seen drawings and etching of the Greek muses; again, lithe and beautiful, their ethereal features inspiring works of amazing strength, grace and beauty.

None of these resemble my muse. I'm sure she's a crusty old thing, with baggy green trousers bearing tattered pockets, a loose linen shirt and a red scarf. She has a hat too, but I don't think she wears it often. She wears old, tattered boat shoes, the kind the Skipper wore on Gilligan's Island. She carries a bag, a large, voluminous thing that seems to hold everything and nothing.

Settled now, I let my fingers rest on the keyboard, opening myself to her voice, her thoughts, her ideas. Almost without conscious thought, my fingers begin to fly across the keys, spilling out words and phrases with wild, carefree abandon. One page, another, four, six, ten and more flow quickly across the screen, my dancing fingers barely pausing in my determination to catch every nuance, every phrase she utters.

Finally, exhausted, I stop. I reach blindly for the ever present bottle of water near my desk, desperately needing to quench my thirst.

"What's going on, why have you stopped?"

"I'm tired and thirsty, and it's 3:45 in the morning!"

"Look, you can sleep when you die. I've got things to do, you're just slowing me down."

"Well, excuse me, but where the hell were you during the day when I needed to get some work done? You just waltz in here..."

"Hey, you want to finish this book or not? I'm giving you my best stuff here!"

I sigh and set the Evian aside. "OK, let's do this."

I crack my knuckles slightly and set my hands above the keyboard, waiting...

"Well?" I demand.


"Oh, come on. I'm ready, let's do this."

"I can't, you've ruined my train of thought."

"I've ruined your...Oh give me a break! How the hell can I ruin your train of thought, you're not even real?!"

The room is silent, there's no one here but me.

"Hello?" Nothing but the faint ticking of the clock reaches my ears.

"Come on, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to hurt your feelings. Come back." I wait, letting my mind wander as the silence of the night settles around me. She's not coming back, not tonight anyway. I'm left with 35 pages of fantastic thoughts, great plot and no clear ending.


She does this to me a lot, my crusty old muse.

I try one last time. "Hey, wake up, let's go. Things to write, people to create..."

Faintly, as if from very far away, I hear her.

"Go 'way, I'm sleeping."

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