Sunday, March 25, 2012

Personal Muse Hotline

Okay, the time has come.  I promised to tell you what happens when my muse doesn't answer my call.  Here's a glimpse.  Please remember that this is an abridged version of the encounter.

:::ring:::  :::ring:::  :::ring:::

"Hello!  Thank-you for calling Personal Muse Hotline.  Please hold.  Your call is very important, but keep in mind you’re not the only writer stuck in the mud right now.  I’ll be with you momentarily."  Afternoon Delight begins blaring through the earpiece.

"Great, even my muse puts me on hold."

Seconds go by.  Minutes.  I start singing along.  Gonna get my baby gonna hold her tight, gonna get me some afternoon delight.  Skyrockets in flight, afternoon delight!  I'm even doing the sound effects with it now.  The realization hits me that I'll be singing this song all day long at work tomorrow.  And someone will hear me.  Probably in the elevator.

"Please continue to hold.  I'm currently working with other writers.  You wouldn't believe how lame some of you guys are without me."

Aaarrrg!  It cut in right at the best part of the song!  More minutes pass.  Now it's K. C. & the Sunshine Band!  What's worse than getting caught in the elevator singing Afternoon Delight?  Getting caught in the elevator singing Shake Your Booty!  Mental note: Call in sick tomorrow.

"I'm sorry you're still having to wait.  Your call is important.  I'm helping you poor saps in the order your call was received.  There are currently seven-hundred-twenty-six callers ahead of you.  They need me.  Please continue to hold."

"Seriously?  I'm number seven-hundred-twenty-seven?"  At this point, I realize that 24-hour support may also mean 24-hour hold times.  I need to check my contract.

No!  Not Debbie Boone!  I will NOT sing about anybody lighting up my life at work tomorrow!  I have a reputation to protect!

"I'm sorry, but I'm still assisting other writers.  Have you considered finding assistance by using my new web site?  I've loaded it with prompts and included landscapes of places that would be perfect settings for your novel.  You can find all this and more at"

I close my eyes and sigh.  I'm surfing this very second, but I will not go to your website.  You're probably tracking my IP address.  You'll see me log on and disconnect my call.  Nope.  Not gonna fall for it, honey.

"If you don't want to check my website, I also offer an automated self-help directory designed to help you overcome the more common causes of writer's block."

"Oh no you don't!"

"For eye color, hair color, or height and weight suggestions, please say "What does my character look like?"

I say nothing.  I don't like using these "tell me what you need" phone systems--at all!

"For names of characters, places, races, or off-the-wall magic systems, please say 'What do I name this?'"

At this point, indentations form in my forehead from the impact of the telephone handset slamming repeatedly against it.

"For all your other I-can't-think-for-myself questions please say 'I need you more than I need to go to the bathroom' or stay on the line and I'll be with you shortly."

"Bathroom?"  Thanks, doll!  Now I do have a problem.  I stand.  No good.  I sit again.  I can hold this.  I know I can.  You can't outlast me, Miss Muse.  I know the game.  You don't know what I'm capable of when I'm desperate.

"I'm sorry, I didn't understand.  Did you say 'bathroom'?  If you did, please say 'yes' now."


"Thank-you for calling.  I'm happy you were able to work out your problems on your own.  Please go to the bathroom.  And have a nice day."


I then proceed to sob like the toddler that just dropped his lollipop down the toilet. 

Do you have a muse that puts you on hold?  Do tell!


  1. Hahahahahahaha! And yes. Totally. Darn muse. Doesn't it know it should be waiting, ready at all times?!

    1. Indeed! And welcome to Strands Of Pattern, Peggy!

      I admire those who can write humor well. It's not easy and it's definitely not my strong suit. I thought I'd give it a shot anyway. I'm glad you liked it.

  2. Hi Jeff, I'm a new follower and very much looking forward to having a sticky beak around your blog. Totally loved this post.. clever you! I am still smiling. Me and my Muse mostly have a good thing going BUT the bugger does enjoy waking me up in the middle of the night with his good ideas! Good luck with the drafting of your book. I am sure all will go well for you :-)

    1. Welcome aboard! Hang around all you like!

      Miss Muse gave up on trying to rouse me from sleep years ago. My wife gave up even before that. Some causes, it seems, truly are lost.

      Thanks for wish of luck. It's getting ooooh sooo close now.

  3. Wow, your muse has a phone? How did I end up with such a low-tech muse that she doesn't offer these services, even if they are totally frustrating? Mine requires fairy dust, and lots of it. Not an easy thing to find, even at the healtfood store.

    You are hilarious, by the way!

    1. Thank-you, kind of you to say so.

      And if you do find any fairy dust, let me know! Never hurts to have stash tucked away for a rainy day!

  4. I know!! I'm writing something short and quick, and I'm three paragraphs away from the end, just when I need to start wrapping up, and the Lady (who has been whispering words into my ear for the past half hour, making them flow like milk and honey and all those other sweet things) vanishes completely.

    Hello? Hello? Wait! I need three more paragraphs!! Three more paragraphs and then I'll leave you alone I swear!!

    Nope. No response.

    1. You didn't even hear "please deposit another twenty-five cents" or the like? (Man am I showing my age...)

      Yes, our Muses should never leave us before the deed is done. That's worse than not answering to begin with! Of course, mine is so temperamental I dare not say anything...

  5. Thanks for placing 'Afternoon Delight' in my head for most likely days to come. Aieeeeeeeeeeeee!

    Now that I think of it, could you imagine what a remake would sound like with today's 'artists'? They wouldn't be hinting around as to what 'delight' was. lol

    1. That is way too true! Some things are best subtle and insinuated.

      In all honesty, I've been singing that song for days. I wrote the post almost a week ago and still can't get it out my head! And I can blame no one for it but me.

      Glad you stopped by!

  6. Ha, great post! My muse often puts me om hold, but for the last few days, he has been very much present which I am grateful for! :D

    1. Oh how we love for our muses to tarry in our midst... I thought about building a guest room just for her, but my wife doesn't want me inviting another woman home. Imagine that! I mean, it's not like I could ogle or lay a hand on her. :)

      I'm happy to hear you liked my little tale!

  7. She's a very pretty muse. I lost mine a couple of years ago. Now I know what happened to her. I think she likes you better than me. Can you give me her phone number?

    1. I'll let her know you think so the next time she drops by. She's loves it when people tell her things like that.

      As far as sharing? Well, Mom always taught me to be a good boy and share my toys, but my muse? hmmmm. I'll put in a good word for ya! ;-)

  8. Hey, I saw that you joined my blog. Thanks so much! I'll be sure to mention you in my next post.

    Also, it looks like you and I have the same taste in books. Robert Jordan and Terry Goodkind are HUGE, HUGE, HUGE influences on my writing as well. My favorite thing about the Wheel of Time is the complexity, and my favorite thing about the Sword of Truth books is how he keeps each book as its own without having it all merge together.

    Thanks, again, for joining Matt's Writing Lair!


    1. Dude, I read through your blog and thought... "kindred spirit" (though I'd never write that on a dude's blog, you understand.) Your thoughts on both series are exactly my own. I have a post I'll be putting up (probably later this week) where I mention books that have taught me something throughout my life. Both of those are mentioned.

      I'm still grinning over the last line in your profile. I, a Jedi am not, but I know the power of the force.

      I like your writing style as shown in your Lucky 7 post.