Thursday, September 8, 2011

An American Muse in Paris

Some days I really hate my Muse. A fine example of that would be that whenever I make mention of him, it MUST be in upper-case or he gets snippy. I wonder some days why I went to the trouble of tracking him down again.

Those that have read my blog from its humble beginnings a scant few months ago, are familiar with My Personal Dark Ages. To those NOT familiar with the reference, it denotes a less than pleasant period of my past. It was a time when I walled myself away from the world for anything other than work and necessary contacts with others.

I worked relentlessly, ate poorly and drank quite heavily. I filled my free time with TV, computer games and solitary activities. I didn't like myself much during that time. I didn't have any outlet for my inate sense of creativity and I didn't really care. It was during that period that my Muse took an extended leave of absence. He seldom allows me to forget that He was gone for quite a lengthy time before I even noticed His office was empty. I never even read His letter of resignation.

As my loyal readers know, I did eventually emerge from My Dark Ages and stood squinting in the forgotten light of Inspiration. I decided to return to writing and never abandon it again. My earliest efforts at that were sporadic and not very...well...inspired. Thus began my quest to find my Muse and lure Him back.

I knew it would be a painful undertaking. We hadn't parted on good terms. I had ignored His feelings and quashed His suggestions out of hand. I know He felt justified in his leaving and had, most likely, secured another position. Still and all, if my writing was to improve and my creativity properly expressed, it would be pointless without Him back at His old desk...doing that voodoo that He do so well.

I began by searching for him in old things I had somehow managed to save just for clues. At his best, my Muse had always been somewhat socially unacceptable. He was terribly sarcastic. He was rude, opinionated, egotistical and often downright surly. I didn't realize until I undertook to find Him that, in His stead, I had been exhibiting all of those qualities for years.

Without my Muse to direct and channel these traits into some sort of release, the responsibility for them fell squarely on me. Like it or not, my Muse and I needed to reunite and reach some sort of amicable agreement. With precious little to go on, the task seemed doomed to fail.

Then, the solution dawned on me. If I wanted to find my Muse, then I needed to THINK like my Muse. If I were Him, where would I be today? I began by recalling all of His trademark qualities: sarcastic, rude, opinionated, egotistacal and surly. Then, I scanned my deepest memories for a match to those traits. Suddenly, I had an intense Archimedes Moment. Eureka indeed!

Paris! My Muse would be found in Paris. With his unique skill set, He could blend in seamlessly with the locals and never want for gainful employment. How ingenious He could be! I felt a profound sense of loss for all of the years that He and I had been apart.

Those feelings faded soon enough when I caught sight of Him, sitting at a wobbly table in the back of a seedy Left Bank cafe. He was wearing a black beret, one of those long-sleeved shirts with narrow blue and white horizontal stripes, tight-fitting black trousers and scuffed clogs. Clogs?!? My Muse in clogs? Astounding!

He was puffing on one of those noxious Gallois cigarettes, holding it in that odd backhanded European fashion. He was sipping from a tall flute of sparkling water and snacking on a small plate of assorted cheeses. He was busily mocking a group of pale, pudgy American tourists regarding their polyester clothing and their propensity to wear socks with sandles. My Muse had gone thoroughly native!

The rest, as they say, is history. It hasn't been all sunshine and roses between us, to say the least. I have yet to convince my Muse who works for whom. Although ours has been a rocky reunion, it bids well to remain mutually beneficial. Now if I can just get Him to stop wearing that damned beret!

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