Thursday, November 17, 2011

My Muse is Dead

Every afternoon, I arrive at my writing desk to find a headless Jane Austen waiting for me. You'd think that would shock me but I'm so used to it now that I just reunite Jane with her head and sit down to write. It's becoming something of a ritual. Reattach head, write. Kind of like a muse.

But I think I should explain. I'm a bit of an Austenite. I've read Pride and Prejudice more times than I can count, although I don't have shrine to Darcy the way some women do. I'm not saying he's not an incredible character, I'm just saying that he's FICTIONAL. But back to Austen. I've read all her books, including the ones that no one else seems to have read. Persuasion is one of my favorite books of all times. I own two copies of Sense and Sensibility. I love this woman's work.

So two Christmases ago, my Dad bought me a Jane Austen potbelly figurine (this was the best picture I could find and I'm too lazy to get the camera tonight). Potbellies are little figures that open up to show a small holder for treasures. It's a really tiny place so those treasures better be tiny. But Jane Austen doesn't hold anything. She just sits on my desk and reminds me how great writing, particularly witty writing, can be. Now Jane opens at the neck to reveal her secret treasure space (wow that sounds bad). Basically her head pops off. And every day the cat jumps up onto the window sill knocking poor Jane's head off. At least I hope that's what happens. It's either that or Jane is attempting to kill herself daily and I'm stopping her.

But every afternoon I walk up the stairs after work, settle into my chair, put the head back on Miss Austen, and pretend to write. I wonder what would happen if I didn't have to reattach her head. Would I not be able to write that day? Would I have to knock off the head to get the creative juices flowing? Does this little ritual make me odd? I'm betting the answer is yes. But ritual it has become. So my poor muse is dead. Every single day.

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