Me And My Muse

My muse.
My muse. Her dress might be from Saks.

The stage was set in its usual way this past Thursday evening. I sat in the library of my suburban Philadelphia home, clad in comfy pajama pants and a sporty smoking jacket, sipping a cup of piping hot chamomile tea laced with two shots of Kentucky bourbon. I was awaiting my weekly visitation from Erratica, my wondrous muse. Erratica, the little-known but essential Greek goddess, and sister of the nine muses who have gotten all the headlines since bursting on the scene about 3,000 years ago. Terpsichore, for instance, the inspiration for dancers, and Calliope, without whom Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, and other authors’ epic poetry, would be stink-o for sure.

Yes, Erratica. She whose job through the millennia has been to aid countless amateur storytellers and scribes in need of a push, in need of direction, such as me.

My eyes were heavy and my mind was foggy due to the typically poor night’s sleep from which I had awoken that morning, not to overlook the spiked tea. In other words, I was in what for me passes as fighting shape. I was straining my brain, trying to come up with some story ideas for my blog, when a series of sharp jabs on my left shoulder got my attention. I looked behind me.

“Hello, Erratica,” I cheerfully said to the beautiful creature who had delivered the blows, eyeing her flowing robes. “You are right on time. I love your dress, by the way. Where’d you get it? At Saks?”

“I’m in a hurry, Neil,” Erratica answered, as she moved from behind my chair to face me properly. “You’re not the only pseudo-writer in need of help. Let’s skip the small talk.”

This girl gets right to the point. There’s nothing erratic about her. Instead, her name derives from the erratic creative talents of those whom she shepherds. “Okay,” I gulped. “Here’s the situation. A week ago, with your assistance, I got it together to write a piece about Willie Nile, and I published it yesterday. But now I’m stuck, really stuck. I can’t think of a single thing to write about. I’m constipated, for gawd’s sake! My handful of readers won’t know what to do if I don’t publish something next week. Please inspire me, Erratica. Please. I’m on bended knees.”

Erratica gave me one of those long, hard looks. I felt uneasy. I knew what was coming. “Neil,” she said. “You have been a big disappointment to me the last couple of months. Getting you to deliver stories once every week or so has been much too difficult. And now you say that you’re totally out of ideas? Are you kidding? Look at all the movies and other things you’ve seen that you haven’t written about. The world is your oyster, whatever that means, and you’re leaving so much of it on the table. There you were last month at the Philadelphia Flower Show, a world-famous exposition, and you wrote not one word about it. Three hundred thousand people went to that show, but it wasn’t good enough for you? What are you, some kind of elitist? And a couple of weeks ago you took in Hello, My Name Is Doris, a sweet movie with adorable Sally Field. Where’s your review, guy? And I could mention so much more. Neil, you’re frustrating me. Big time.”

doris IMG_1273
“Oh, Erratica. I know you’re right. You always are. But hear me out. Sure, I liked Hello, My Name Is Doris pretty well. I came close to writing about it. But the more I thought about the movie, the more I saw what I think is a gaping hole in its central logic. I said to myself, ‘Yo, schmuck. Why spend several hours analyzing a flick that’s kind of flabby in its design?’ What I’m saying, Erratica, is this: Doris is what, 65 years old? And she’s been a semi-wallflower pretty much all of her life. And then one day— presto! — she falls in with a bunch of hip millennials who practically adopt her into their tribe. I mean, c’mon. The odds of that happening are about as high as my winning the Powerball jackpot on the same day that NASA accepts me into its astronaut training program.”

Erratica gave me another of those long, hard looks. Obviously she wasn’t buying my explanation. Maybe I wasn’t either.

One of the Japanese displays.
One of the Japanese displays.
Part of Big Timber Lodge, which was the entrance to National Parks exhibits.
Part of Big Timber Lodge, which was the entrance to national parks exhibits.

“And here are my beefs about the Philadelphia Flower Show,” I continued. “Yeah, going in I was primed to write it up. But going out I was muttering ‘nah’ to myself. I mean, the show was okay. I liked some Japanese displays. And the themed exhibits representing various national parks were decent, but that’s all they were . . . representations. You could walk through and around them in seconds. All they really made me want to do was head to the great outdoors and explore the real parks. And don’t get me started on the juried flower exhibits. The flowers in my local supermarket’s flower department look as good, probably better, than what I saw at the show. Grouse and grouse some more, that’s mostly what I would have done if I’d written about the Flower Show. There’s no fun in that for me.”

 

Erratica snorted. Her patience clearly was exhausted. “I don’t know if I can take this anymore,” she said. “I have to have a talk with my father. His name is Zeus, in case you forgot. You amateurs have worn me out. For 3,000 years I’ve been dealing with marginally-talented, confused whiners. I deserve a new assignment. Calliope’s, for example. Amateurs . . . bah!”

And, just like that, Erratica was gone. Possibly forever. I don’t know how I will cope if she doesn’t return. But I do know this: Bereft of ideas, there’s little chance that I will publish anything this week.

(Don’t be shy about adding your comments, or about sharing this article with others)

(Doris and flower show photos by Sandra Cherrey Scheinin. If you click on a photo, a larger image will open)

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13 thoughts on “Me And My Muse

  1. T. Wayne April 27, 2016 / 7:30 am

    Of course, you just did write something about the movie and the flower show. I see what you did there…with of course the help of Erratica.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Joyce April 27, 2016 / 7:49 am

    I like your more positive blogs better. Sorry you didn’t like the flower show. I didn’t go but heard from friends that it was beautirul. I agree with your Doris review.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yeahanotherblogger April 27, 2016 / 7:56 am

      Yeah, I’m sure I’m in the minority when it comes to the Flower Show. I thought it was pretty good. I didn’t love it. I’m glad I went, though – – – it was my first visit ever to that event.

      Like

  3. Aquileana April 29, 2016 / 10:11 am

    I love this post…. And it was good to knew about the tenth muse.. They say that Mnemosyhne, the Muses´mother had And, just like that, Erratica was gone. Possibly forever. I don’t know how I will cope if she doesn’t return. But I do know this: Bereft of ideas, there’s little chance that I will publish anything this week.The legend says that Mnemosyne had a relentless memory … but not always if facts against her were included…Between me and you, Zeus was not precisely sure Erratica was his daughter… but the Muse herself didn´t know that.
    I feel that Erratica is not only quite elusive as you tell us… but also exigent… She rebuked you, didn´t she?…
    But at the end a whole post came out of this… so I guess that her influence was subtly effective, and the results are all what count. All the best to you, Aquileana 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Still the Lucky Few April 29, 2016 / 10:33 am

    Very sneaky! I loved your review of Hello, My Name is Doris and your analysis of the tepid flower show! Erratica must be a real boon to you. But she doesn’t know much about the art of positive reinforcement, does she?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Aunt Beulah May 2, 2016 / 7:24 pm

    Lucky you, Neil. Erratic has never once tried to help me, even when I’m attempting to drown my feelings of futility as a writer in chocolate and coffee. Next time, send her my way, would you? And thanks for a laugh-aloud funny post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yeahanotherblogger May 2, 2016 / 9:10 pm

      I spoke with Erratica a few minutes ago. She asked me to let you know that she will visit you tomorrow morning at 9:15.

      Like

      • Aunt Beulah May 2, 2016 / 9:42 pm

        I’ll get up earlier than usual to make sure I’m appropriately dressed and groomed. Flowing robes I think.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. aprilswopegreene May 7, 2016 / 1:32 pm

    I haven’t seen Hello My Name is Doris, but just want to interject that there seems to be nothing hipper for hipsters these days than to adopt an adorable old-timer as a mascot! I’ve seen it happen more than once from my lookout here in Brooklyn 🙂 So maybe that premise is not as far-fetched as it seemed.

    Liked by 1 person

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