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 www.WhyAreYouStillHolding.com."
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!