One of the most popular bits of silliness I ever wrote was a series of blog posts called “Conversations with the Muse.” The Muse is the creative, cantankerous voice in my head who yells at me and keeps the writing on track.
For the first ten years or so of my fiction writing career, the Muse (and assorted other voices) worked out plot twists and ways to torment characters, while my saner mind managed the tasks of being a single mom and a reporter. Sort of. My conversations with the Muse were frequent, profane, sometimes more than a little frustrated, and always snarky. They were posted in a private blog accessible only to close friends, now long defunct.
Many, many times I have been asked to compile the Muse posts into a book. Apparently, she’s a popular lady, though she would probably put her fist through the face of anyone who said that.
As I approach my birthday (39 plus tax, and I’ll have words with anyone who says different), I’d just like to tell you that if you ever thought about buying me a present (or even if you haven’t), the best thing you could possibly do would be to subscribe to my Patreon.
All my best material is going on the Patreon these days: short stories, novel snippets, travelogues, photo essays, blog musings, even the Door Project, which has been delightfully fun all semester. The Patreon is an important part of my family’s income, but it has also been mentally and creatively stimulating in ways I hadn’t anticipated.
So I’m taking advantage of a new Patreon feature and offering an ebook as a special bonus to anyone who subscribes between now and March 25. It’s “Conversations With The Muse,” ranging from the arguments over my first novel back in 2003 up to her most recent appearance last month, as well as two short stories in which the Muse led me on a visit down the rabbit hole to visit my characters.
Already a subscriber? Don’t worry, you’re getting the ebook too! Along with my thanks for your kind support and diligently hanging in there while I worked out the kinks in the Patreon system. And if you increase your pledge by at least one level during the birthday week, you’ll get a secret extra bonus!
Sure, you can think of it as a birthday present if you want. But I’m hoping you’ll like what you see, enough to stay and keep reading what I’m putting out there each month. I try to sing for my supper, and I hope what I’m singing is pleasing to your ears.
Excerpt: Feb. 24, 2005
I’m stuck on a part of A More Perfect Union, namely the falling-in-love part. I thought maybe I’d go for a nice walk in the woods along the bike trail near the apartment, and see if I can remember how people fall in love.
ME: So, how do you fall in love?
MUSE: Never did.
ME: Sure you did.
ME: I made you up. I wrote you. You fell in love once.
MUSE: No, that was Crawford, in Sanctuary. She’s the one who fell in love. I’m the part of you that steers clear of all that.
ME: Oh great. I hope nobody notices I’m walking here talking to myself.
MUSE: Nobody’s here. It’s fucking February. You’re the only one nuts enough to walk on a trail the day after a goddamn snowstorm.
(pass underpass construction site)
ME: I think it’s nice that the bike path doesn’t have to make way for the new road, and the new road doesn’t stop for the bike path. They get to coexist.
MUSE: Very philosophical. Note the graffiti.
ME: Ugh. Little bastards. Is that a tiger?
MUSE: I think it’s supposed to be Satan.
ME: Those aren’t horns.
MUSE: No, but the 666 all around him is kind of a tipoff.
ME: Idiot little gangsta wannabes. Any of them saw anything really bad they’d wet their pants.
MUSE: Is this what we’re out here for?
ME: Fuck you. I need to think sappy thoughts. When was the last time I fell in love?
MUSE: You do not want to go there.
ME: Good point. I can’t remember how people fall in love.
ME: What the fuck is that?
MUSE: A stick.
ME: It’s got fur.
MUSE: Dead animal.
ME: That’s the severed leg of a deer.
MUSE: Yup, it is.
ME: Deer are my favorite animal.
MUSE: Uh huh.
ME: Is there any WORSE fucking karma than this? It’s you, isn’t it? This is what happens when I’m talking to you!
MUSE: We should report this to someone.
ME: There’s no road anywhere near here! The road is like 200 feet away and 20 feet up with guardrails!
MUSE: Don’t smell anything, either.
ME: Idiot. It snowed. Nothing’s going to rot until the thaw.
ME: YOU’RE saying ew? You?
MUSE: I’ve got a thing about amputation.
ME: Which of us is the tough bitch? I forgot.
MUSE: That’s the severed leg of a deer. I’m all out of romantic thoughts.
ME: Now there’s no way that scene gets written today.
MUSE: I think we should go home and report this.
ME: Severed leg of a deer. Next to quasi-satanic graffiti. This shit only happens to me.