Monday, November 7, 2011

Play Ball!

Day 7: Send someone flowers

What’s on your mind?

The guy at the table beside me answers his cell phone. Russian. He’s speaking Russian. I swear. He’s speaking Russian in Kalamazoo. I feel like I’m in a spy movie. How exciting!! Only I’m in Barnes and Noble café in the middle of the Midwest and to prove it, the lady at the table on the other side of me is knitting something purple. I’m not much into knitting despite being from the Midwest myself, so “something purple” is as technical as it gets, but she is definitely knitting something purple while the big bearded guy is speaking Russian. Maybe small towns ARE where it’s at.

Let’s not talk flowers. Let’s talk schedules. My writing this month has taken a turn. I feel like I’m back in undergrad, cranking out a ten to twenty page term paper every day for some Nazi professor who will barely even read it, but will take great joy in marking it all to Hell before throwing it on my desk with a look of such disdain I will question even why I show up to this thing called college. I will question, in fact, my complete ability to accomplish any task at which I think I might be even slightly qualified. My writing this month has turned have-to-do instead of want-to-do.

Have-to-do is boring and dry and all suit and tie and medium gray cubicle. Want-to-do is fun and free and fat hoop earrings and funky gold flip-flops, or better yet, stepping barefoot through fresh cut grass. I seem to be much more a fan of want-to-do than have-to-do. Who knew?!

I guess I like my life as I like it. I like to be the decider, the leader, the main man, only, you know, the main girl. I like to do things just until the point where they start to feel required, until they begin to take on the feel of I must do them or else. This is actually quite a little epiphany, although I realize that all epiphanies are by definition huge. I do not, as I had formerly believed, lack follow-through. I simply don’t care for rules. I don’t care for someone, imaginary or real, standing over my shoulder ready to take ruler to knuckles. You must write sixteen hundred words at this sitting. You must complete your daily challenge. You must post to blog and update NaNoWriMo word count and blah and blah and blah. I just don’t care for that, even if that someone with ruler to knuckles is me.

I know serious writers are not supposed to be muse followers. A serious writer takes a gigantic imaginary glue stick to her writing chair each morning once she sees her children off to school. Then she plants her backend in that very chair and stays there until, oh, I don’t know, the lunch hour or some arbitrary word count or until the hunky UPS guy shows up at the door. I’m beginning to believe I am not a serious writer. But I do like to write. So, I’m thinking I need to reintroduce myself to my muse. Maybe he would come see me more often if I asked very nicely.

Actually, I don’t even know my muse. We’ve never formally met, but I do know he’s a dude. How crazy is that? I always thought one’s muse would be female with a mess of long wild blond hair and draped in white flowing gowns of something sheer and beautiful and all gauze-like. I imagined in my dreams that one’s muse would enter through the window on a gentle breeze, tapping the writer on the shoulder every-so-slightly and whispering something mystical and creatively profound such as write, write the words that are within, unleash the spirit of the soul. My guy hangs out over my right shoulder checking his text messages. Boring, I know. He’s there all the time, actually. I can feel him, always. When he gets the notion, and who knows why that is, he starts hurling all these words at me so fast I can hardly keep up. It’s like being in one of those batting cages where you accidentally set the wrong speed and the balls just keep flying out one after another with you basically just defending yourself from being pelted rather than showing off your mad skills for the other big league wannabes, read ten-year-old boys practicing their stance and doing their best to impress Dad who stands behind the bars barking “encouragement.” Yeah. My muse is like that, the balls and the dad.

But I like when he shows up for business. He’s a tough taskmaster, but he fills my head with words that are fun and free and all fat hoop earrings and funky, gold flip-flops. He fills my head with words that make it feel as if it is taking a barefoot stroll through a fresh cut lawn on a beautiful summer day. He may not be pretty, but he sure knows how to paint a picture with a pen.

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