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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Writer's Life (05/13/10)

TITLE: Perfidia
By Lucile McKenzie
05/18/10


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So, you think that all we writers need do is call on our muse, sit down and, under her guidance, start putting out glimmering prose. Well, let me enlighten you about my Muse. First of all, her name is Perfidia, which right away tells you something. The name is appropriate.

For instance, she gives me a great idea, then goes to sleep, leaving me dangling. Or else, after I come up with a fabulous idea on my own and call on her to “give me a little inspiration and help, here,” she’ll complain about how sleepy she is and I won’t be able to get a bit of work out of her.

I mentioned she likes to sleep. I tell you, this is one drowsy muse! In fact, sometimes the only way I can get any work out of her is to promise that if she gives me a little assist on my current project, I will settle down with a good book for a couple of hours and not call on her at all. Then, (big maybe) she’ll stir herself enough to help. The great irony is that the book I’ll be reading so my muse can sleep was no doubt written by someone lucky enough to have a decent muse, probably named, “Fidelity,” or something equally encouraging.

Sometimes she’ll give me an inspirational idea and stay with me to about halfway through. I’ll find myself thinking that finally, we are working together and how nicely this is going. Then, bam! Right in the middle of the project she quits and I’m left to muddle on to the end alone.

I think her middle name is, “Treachery.” Every now and then she sings a siren song that lures me to the computer where, I’m led to believe, she’ll come forth with ideas and insights that will strike like lightening bolts, one right after the other. So, I sit down and turn on the computer. Then what does Miss Perfidia do? Goes to sleep, of course. But not before she erases any glimmering of ideas I may have had, and I am left staring at a blank page.

I’ve tried wooing her with flattery, telling her how clever she is, how wise, and inspiring. I’ve tried being patient. “That’s okay,” I’ll say. “I know you’ll appear soon. I’ll wait.” And, wait I do, while she simply smiles and goes on her perfidious way. Oh, I have to admit that when she’s in the mood, she is great! Sometimes, she guides the words so smoothly across the page that the finished product fills me with joy. Of course, just to keep me on my toes, she never does it all. I always have to go over and rewrite, sometimes several times, but that’s okay. She’ll even help me out there if she’s in the mood. Sometimes she’ll tantalize me by tossing out fragments of ideas, titles, and phrases. But she likes to snatch them back, too, just as I’m reaching for them. It’s extremely frustrating. She’s so erratic that I’ve learned to grab whatever she tosses my way while I can get it, no matter where I am, dentist’s office, super market, a busy intersection. I stop quickly and jot down the tidbit she deigned to toss my way.

Well, what can you do? Kicking her out and going it entirely alone is not an option. Neither is giving up writing. I have to resort to the old cliché--can’t live with her and for sure I can’t live without her!


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This article has been read 211 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Esther Phillips05/20/10
This could have been written by me, but of course, it wasn't! I enjoyed it very much.
Mildred Sheldon05/20/10
Sounds like so many writers. Loved this. Good job.
Gregory Kane05/20/10
Sounds like you need a trade-in. Maybe Calliope or Melpomene are available?
Seriously though, I enjoyed the personification of your muse. We've all been there although yours seems more temperamental than most! Nicely done.
AnneRene' Capp 05/21/10
Now this is creativity at its best! I am sure you have succeeded in stirring the companions of muse within each of us as we read this. Going to have to think about mine and find her a name. :)
Caitlyn Meissner05/22/10
Very interesting article. I enjoyed reading it, and even started wondering what I would call my own "muse". But now I've decided to give the Holy Spirit credit for all my inspiration. I wouldn't have any stories but for him. It's a comfort to know that God cares, even about little things like my stories.
Joanna Stricker05/23/10
I can definitely relate, my inspiration comes and goes on a whim. I love stuff that is fun and this was an enjoyable read, good job.