So, here are 1978 words of dreck. Wholly unedited, but written. For whatever it’s worth.
Once upon a time, there was a writer who loved to write. Her muse awoke one day when she dreamed, not of meeting the actors who portrayed her favorite characters, but of meeting the characters, because everyone knows that actors are merely playing a part created by someone else. They aren’t really who they pretend to be, and the animated ones…well. The obviousness of why they cannot be met is obvious.
Oh, the scenes would play out in her mind in never ending daydreams until one day, the scene would not move past a point in time. Looping over and over again like a maddening scene from Groundhog Day many, many years before the movie ever existed. The only way the loop was finally dislodged was when the writer wrote it down.
The writer had been sleeping a great deal around this time. For twelve hours or more at a time! Perhaps this might have been recognized as depression, but alas, the time was well before depression was acknowledged to be as pervasive as it is, and the internet was a quaint thing that wasn’t a thing for the thrift-minded. It was the mid-1980’s, and Atari was king, but the arcades were The Place To Hang. Except the writer lived in rural areas with zip for public transportation and parents not keen on driving twenty minutes or more to drop the writer off to hang with anyone. But that was okay, because the writer was so not a people person.
Like a flash of lightning in the darkest night, the writer realized that sleep was eating into the time she could be writing! Like a switch, instead of sleeping from seven in the evening until it was time to get ready for school or noon on the weekends, One AM became her new best friend, and four-thirty AM her next. Every moment that was free was devoted to the written word, the next scene, the next meeting.
Slowly, the characters-of-others began to make way for characters-of-her-own. Partly because, however nebulous her understanding of it was, characters-of-others belonged to Others because of Copyright Laws. Ever the follower of rules, the writer had no desire to tangle in that hot mess. No, sir. Not at all.
All was going well until one day, an irritated and grumpy Father-of-the-writer said of all her writing that she should sell it so it’s worth something. This pricked the writer’s pride. Her writing was not worthless just because she didn’t make money from it! Her writing was her creation! Her child! She couldn’t just sell her children! In fact, she vowed she would never sell her children. They were hers and to hell with money and others’ opinions of worthiness.
And so life went. School was endured, interruptions of food, education, family, and such interspersed with reams and reams of paper being written upon and stuffed into ring binders that could not be big enough to house all the pages. A lust for paper and mechanical pencils and other products of the written arts ingrained itself into the writer, because in those days, computers were family shared things and the writer’s stories were covetously hidden away from a family who did not appreciate art. “Writing isn’t a real job,” was understood. For all other practical-ness of the writer, writing was her one impracticality.
Life stopped for a period of time as the writer entered training for the armed forces. A duty she assumed for herself, for it was her belief that women had as much a responsibility to serve their country as any man, and felt it was rather stupid for only men to be at risk for being drafted. Also, she dreamed of going to the stars, but had not a single clue about how to go to college, or afford it.
Especially not with the risk of parental units forever holding over her head the inevitable first semester failure her high school teachers warned about because they held our hands and college was so different and we naïve souls had zero discipline. So, in the hopes of getting the education needed to one day become an astronaut to be able to speak with cosmonauts on a joint mission to the red planet, into the military she went.
And promptly physically wrecked herself. Not that she realized the extent of her injury. Certain it was merely a case of pain due to being a thoroughly nonphysical lazy person. Stubborn creature that the writer was, she tried to push through pain, despite a lack of belief from doctors and even less evidence for reasons for the pain to be there. Subtle and not so subtle accusations of pain being in her head or an attempt to avoid physical efforts did not help the writer.
One day, fed up with everything, the writer decided to take advantage of rip tides and turbulent currents among rocky shores. She was so done with everything. Perhaps it was a good thing she had no easy transportation, for the excessively long walk from barracks to shoreline cooled the temper. A smaller hobby was taken up, painting of teeny tiny figures from tabletop roleplaying games. An expensive hobby, but much more space saving than the reams and reams of paper would have been. Though the muse whispered stories to her and some had to be written. Because she was a writer, and that’s what writers do, after all.
Winding her way from base to base as training continued, she was ready to head to the goal of a place to hang her boots and know what would be home when the tragic happened. Her best friend, so ill-treated by his wife and so foolish as to drive exhausted and addicted to codeine, introduced his car to a tree. To say she did not handle it well is too simply stated for a complex turmoil of emotions. But her muse did not stop whispering to her, only squelched any literal imagery from her hands from appearing ever again.
Reaching her new home, she had decided to dispense with looking for the “perfect husband in a boyfriend” and just find someone to enjoy her time with. Sadly, for most of the male species, she continued to be terribly picky. She wasn’t looking potential husband material so much as someone who made her comfortable.
In the days before hard drives, when games had to be played from floppies, she had taken time to find the earliest of roleplaying games in a computer store for her the wonder of electronics that she had gotten for her birthday only weeks before. Hauling the beast out eventually became affectionately known as her version of “computer dating.”
He who would become her husband had appeared to watch the playing of computer games as the writer hung around to guard against men-still-boys who would have been beaten into tar had they even tried to get near her precious tech. (Yes, the writer was long a techy. Just a poor techy. Or at least, child-of-very-ah-thrift-minded-parents.)
After some time had passed, the writer finally got the courage to offer to share her writing with this new love in her life. Why? Because aside from enjoying his company and sharing a similar sense of humor, he also shared a love of reading…the same genre she loved! His thoughts? He loved it! And he wanted more. As fast as she wrote and printed pieces of stories, he would read it. The writer’s muse fell in complete love, just as the writer had.
Eventually, it reached a point she could not write fast enough to sate his literary appetite. He wanted the stories done because, gods above, it was frustrating waiting for the next installment! When he suggested she should publish one of her works, she became unsure and doubtful of her writing’s worth. So much was inspired by other writers and artists. How could she write anything that was not completely and utterly original? And if original, how could she know if anyone would like it?
Thus came the first Emptying of the Bookshelves as he demonstrated a counterargument with tossing books at her feet. As protective of books as he was, this was a worthy cause for him. The point had to be made! And eventually it was, though not without many challenges along the way. All the while, this love of her life prodding the muse and the writer both to keep going in their efforts.
The struggles paid off and lo! Fully formed creations, while admittedly imperfect though hardly igor-teque, emerged into the world. The writer was proud, as was the love of her life. The muse, however, was becoming frustrated. The writer was not young, and the days of less than four hours of sleep were long behind her. The need to feed bills and mortgages and student loans and children and cats took a toll on the writer’s time and energy.
The writer’s and muse’s love was nearly lost in an accident and her devotion to the real world over the imaginary further piqued the muse. It would be okay, the writer promised the muse. Things will get better. Things will find balance and I will come back to you.
Until the day when their love died. Two and a half decades of companionship was torn away, leaving them both broken and bleeding and, despite the presence of family and friends…alone. Guilt and blame for not doing more tormented the writer. Emotions the child of a tornado and hurricane tore at her soul. Why? What did she do wrong? If she could fix it could she have her beloved back? How was she supposed to go on alone? With no one who understood. With no one who would listen. Without the one who gave her the strength and confidence to try and exuded his pride when she succeeded.
I am still here, came in whispers that could only be felt, not heard. I am still here and still proud and waiting for you to tell me new stories. I love you and I’m sorry, please write for me.
Long stretches of time passed eternally and instantly. Eventually the writer knew her love was there, though still raged at how her world had changed. It isn’t the same as it was before. She wanted him back. Gods, how she wanted him back beside her. But she wanted to write for him again, because it would make him happy, and hopefully she could be, too.
But there was a problem.
The muse was gone.
Oh, the bitterness of wanting to write. Needing to write. But not being able to put the words together. To weave the worlds, to braid the lives. To create! Frustration unspeakable consumed the writer. Where in the living hells did the muse go?
Just wait, said others. The muse will return. Have faith. Just wait. Believe.
But the writer knows. Waiting is time, and time is fleeting. What should have been a lifetime shattered, abandoning the writer to unwanted solitude with no one to share ideas with, with no one who shares the love and understanding of her worlds, with no one with whom she can be open with, for her default state is silence and listening. After all, she had learned long ago, but for one, precious exception, no one wants to listen to her; they want to be listened to.
And so the writer tries to put the broken pieces of the muse back together. But the pieces ill fit, and the glue does not hold. Like a broken toy, misshapen things emerge, holding together long enough for something to emerge before crumbling into a pile of nothing again. The writer searches for help, for hope…how does one heal a muse after death?
But there is nothing. Nothing but empty silence.