By C.L. Beck
Most writers have heard about the muses, but you might find it interesting to know that in mythology, there are only she-muses. Sorry to tell you this, guys, but you’re stuck with a gal for your inspiration. Probably one who primps, colors her hair and wears fingernail polish named Who Needs a Prince?
(Really, Keith and Darvell, don’t you find that thought a-muse-ing?)
Even though there are no he-muses mentioned in mythology, I’m certain they exist. They appear right after inspiration strikes and before a writer has a chance to even get one word down on paper. The he-muses are the cause for delayed manuscripts, funky manuscripts, and no manuscripts at all.
Naturally, they don’t have sissy names like the female muses. Their names typically end with “ator” or “ucto” or some other bizarre, “go out and wreak havoc on the world” syllables. I’m sure many of you have encountered them; maybe we’ve even met a few of the same ones.
The Alphabetizer-ator: The muse who inspires you to alphabetize your magazines, canned vegetables, and the spices in the cupboard before putting a word down on paper. Then he mentions that the cans of old paint in the basement really need to be sorted by color.
The Grinder-ator: The one who reminds you that you can’t write unless your pencils are sharp. All your pencils. Every one that’s in the house. Oh, and don’t forget that one out in the car’s glove box. Who cares that you haven’t used a pencil to write since you were in the third grade?
The Cleaner-ator: That burly guy who bugs you because your desk is a mess. So, before you write, you straighten and clean. And then get out the vacuum, take the computer apart and vacuum out the dust. He’s the one you hear laughing in your head as you accidentally suck the mother board out of your computer, effectively ending your writing career for the month.
The Sharpener-ator: The man’s man. He’s the one that whispers to all the guys that the shovels, hoes, and pitchfork need to be sharpened. It’s a macho issue, since no guy can stand to write when he has unsharpened tools hanging over his head. This is also the same muse who then tells the guys to go sharpen the Water-Pik.
The Barker-ator: The muse who insists that you can’t think with the dog barking. Or the cat meowing. And can't the birds chirp quieter? Or the leaves stop rustling? He’s the one who inspires you to stuff a potato into the tailpipe of that noisy car across the street.
I've given you a taste for the personalities of just a few of them, but the list goes on and on. They’re insidious. It takes a strong, determined writer to defeat them. However, forewarned is also forearmed.
And I intend to tell you more so that you can resist. Really, I do.
But first … give me a few minutes to clean off my desk, sharpen my pencils and vacuum out the computer.