Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Shutdown

A fabricated (or inspired?) dialogue with my muse, following the current government shut down.

Author (to Muse): Work has ceased, thanks to your unwillingness to negotiate the current stalemate. Are you happy now?

Muse: I’m a Muse. I’m neither happy nor sad. I’m simply focused on my goal.

Author: Which is to shut down operations until you get your way?

Muse: Whatever it takes.

Author: You’re holding my creative process hostage! Think of all the people out there waiting for my next piece. And you’re turning them away. You should be ashamed!

Muse: I’m not ashamed. I’m focused. Besides, I don’t control your creative process. It’s completely free to do as it likes.

Author: Then why have you shut down all non-essential functions in my brain? Oh sure, I can eat, sleep, breathe, but I have no access to ideas for my writing. It’s like they’re behind concrete barricades, or something! When I try to call up an idea, I hear a prim and proper voice say “we’re sorry, this line is not functioning due to the current lapse in Musing.”

Muse: That’s not the message I’m trying to send. If you’d just agree to come to a conference session –

Author: I don’t negotiate with mythical figures!

Statue of mythical woman-angel
Sometimes, in my imagination, my Muse looks like this.
Muse: Technically, I’m not one of the mythical Muses. I’m a private figment of your personal imagination.

Author: Always trying to get off on a technicality! And besides, said “personal imagination” appears to be on furlough.

Muse: Would you like to know how to get it back to work?

Author: You mean simply demanding it isn’t enough?

Muse: Has it been enough any of the last, oh, billion times you’ve tried it?

Author: You never know, maybe the billion-and-one time’s the charm.

Muse: Remember Einstein’s definition of insanity: doing the same thing and expecting different results. Luckily for you, insanity has worked well for a lot of famous authors.

Author: I’ll never be famous if I don’t start writing again, for which I need your inspiration!

Muse: Ah, there you go. You’ve almost got it.

Author: Got what?

Muse: The secret to unlocking your creativity. It’s not about demanding, insisting, or negotiating. It’s about needing. Wanting. Desiring. Opening yourself up. And above all, it’s about doing the work. As long as you’re waiting for me to do it for you, you’re going to run into barricades and disconnected phones. But sit down and focus on your need, your deep desire to tell a story, and start writing. Before you know it, I’ll be there.

Author: Sorry, what did you say? Never mind, this story just came to me… be right with you… I’ve got some writing to do first…

Muse: (Smiles, steps close to massage Author’s shoulders as the words flow.)

Elizabeth Fountain is the author of An Alien's Guide to World Domination and the upcoming You, Jane, both from Champagne Book Group.


Anonymous said...

Very clever and entertaining. Well done Liz.

Michael Davis (
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Very clever indeed. And true...taking responsibility.

Liz Fountain said...

Thanks, Big Mike and Julie. Sometimes I hate taking responsibility for my own creative work, but it doesn't seem like there's anyone in line ahead of me... :-)


Mark said...

I liked this post very much, Liz. Except that muse looks like my tenth grade English teacher, and she was always ready to tear my head off. She'd spin in her grave, if she knew that two out of the three Ozeroff brothers were published writers.

Liz Fountain said...

Thanks, Mark! I had a memorable tenth grade English teacher too - only she was more inspiring than fearsome. Except when I overused commas. Then...*shudder*...