Monday Musings of a Muse

When I was younger and I thought about being a writer, I envisioned myself at my desk, with the sun streaming just so through my tall glass of orange juice, and a tree branch occasionally brushing against the window in a melodic fashion. I did not see myself as someone who needed a muse, wanted a muse, relied on a muse to inspire the flow of words. I would be my own muse, gosh darn it!, and I was proud of this plan. When I was younger, I dreamt of writing a novel that would grace the shelf of the local used bookstore, with a little sign proclaiming “Local girl makes it! Read her book!” or some such message. And maybe I would wear vintage hats, and hold salons like a blonde Dorothy Parker (though our physical appearance is so different, I am afraid our acerbity is not).
Twenty years later I am in a crowded coffee shop with bagel crumbs on my lips and I wear my hoodie to drown out the clacking and chattering and consumption around me. And I think about my retired muse. I remember confessing that I always saw myself as an independent writer (woman) who didn't need someone else (a partner) to inspire creation. I told her that it was a surprise to me that I found myself suddenly writing more after a weekend with her, that I found stories and words less reclusive when I would think about our relationship or our future. I sent her links to the Laura Marling videos, singing the word “muse” over and over. I gave her the title, capital M and all, and I was proud to disperse such a grand label. I typed away on my vintage typewriter, poetry (original) and poems (ee cummings and such) smudging away when I should have been writing my screenplay. I couldn't help it... I had a Muse!
And then my Muse dumped my a** and I felt betrayed, more so by my own trust than by her (though of course a little by her because I felt honesty lacking, felt hornswaggled, felt vindicated) but really because I had released my clutch on the muse status, apparently all for naught. What would I do? Retire the typewriter? Start fresh? Cry and cry and then throw myself into the arms of the attractive wanderers of New York City? Hope that I could manage to write amidst the sadness?
And then, the words spilled out, and the fingers typed more fervently. The screenplay was completed and the first and second edits completed and the comic kept coming and the articles were produced. And I heard rumors of my Muse becoming someone else's muse (it was inevitable, predicted, unsurprising, dispiriting, but nonetheless fine) and I realized she was never a Muse with a capital “M” but rather a muse for that particular time in my life and I shouldn't be so hard on myself and really I am and always will be a writer no matter who comes into my life.
Maybe that younger (chubbier but with fuller hair) version of me was right about one thing. I may not be the next Jane Austen, I may not hold salons full of sarcastic swordplay (though my dinner parties inspire the biting banter I always pictured when reading about Dorothy Parker), but guess what, I am my own Muse. Collecting muses and surrounding myself with inspiring and creative people is great for my writing and my life, and I will continue to cultivate those relationships. But I am, and always will be, my own Muse. I couldn't ask for a better one.