Dear Muse

posted December 3, 2009

Dear Muse,

First of all, I want to thank you. I take you for granted, I know I do. And after all we’ve been through in my lifetime, I should know better. Remember when the best you gave me was

Pegasus the Flying Horse
Flying over land and sea
Pegasus the Magic horse
The magic horse was he!

You’ve been steadfast and loyal. As one of my writers pointed out today, you are well-trained to show up when I beckon you and give me the goods, or at least goods enough.

So it feels greedy of me to ask for more. But I want more. I want my book to be better, muse. I want my writing to be funnier, wittier, filled with colossus content. I want wisdom to ooze off my fingers into the blank docs on my screen. I want lyrics to whip off my pen, dazzling me and bringing me to tears and gales of laughter.

Here’s what I get. I get that in order for you to perform at your best, I have to feed you. I can’t just read DuctTape marketing blogs and Patti Digh’s tweets. You were satisfied with a diet of The New Yorker and the New York Times for awhile, but I can’t seem even to manage that anymore. But if all I read is non-fiction—realistic, newsy non-fiction—then that’s all I’ll be able to write. You want the new John Irving. You want Sharon Olds poetry. You want songs by the White Stripes, the Decemberists and artists we haven’t even heard yet.

Yesterday I found an old mix on my iPod from 2004—a pre-mom mix. It was like a little window into my old life. I’ve been peeking into my old life a lot recently. My old clothes fit again, and putting them on is like stepping backwards in time. Can I really be a responsible mother in my old Levis with the black-eyed Susan patch? Can I still be a loving, good wife while listening to something beyond Dan Zanes and HooteNanny? Will sarcasm ever be allowed again?

As always, I defer to you. I know that we work as partners, that we are dependent on each other. I know that if I try to boss you around, all the gossamer you give me will end up cobwebbing up my hands. I have all sorts of ideas about the songs, books, essays, sermons, poems, blog posts I want to write this year. So I will do what works best; I’ll see what’s sparking your interest and follow your lead.

And I won’t forget to go for that daily run. I notice that you need that. Sometime about five minutes into the park, the ideas start poking up out of the ground, and my hardest task is to remember them when we get home.

Happy New Year.

Thank you.

Love, Nerissa

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