BEMUSED

According to the ancient Greeks there are nine muses devoted to helping artists. Thalia, the muse of comedy would be the appropriate one for me. I haven’t heard from Terpsichore, the muse of dancing, since 1950 when I broke my date’s big toe while doing the Boogie Woogie.

I don’t entirely believe in these old Greek stories. However, I definitely do have a muse who’s given me ideas for over 50 years as a writer, but I don’t think it’s Thalia, a daughter of Zeus, who would be more dedicated to her job and would be giving me better service.

I suspect my muse, whatever her name is (I’ll call her Tipsy), might have a drinking problem. Wouldn’t a sober, dedicated muse stick around to see an artist through a project once she’s given him a barebones idea? Tipsy is more of a delivery girl, dropping off an occasional one-line inspiration and then wandering off, probably to the nearest bar.

As a blogger, what am I supposed to do with Tipsy’s “The weather bureau is a non-prophet organization?” Not bad, but then what? She tantalizes me with other phrases like “To get ahead, if you can’t get something on the ball, try getting something on your boss.

Tipsy delivered that one while I was driving in heavy traffic on Route 80. The AAA guy who helped get my car off the median agreed it was quite funny and admitted it would have distracted him also.

My desk and pockets are full of little Post-its on which I’ve jotted down Tipsy’s one-liners so I won’t forget them. Last week I thought I was handing a deposit slip to a bank teller when she looked at it and said, “What is this? ‘Happiness isn’t everything. You can’t buy money‘?” She looked nervous and may have been reaching for the alarm button. I had to explain my mistake quickly.

I have always believed that every good writer, besides having a way with words, a healthy sense of curiosity and perhaps a liberal attitude towards plagiarism, really needs a muse. Writer’s block is a serious condition. Shouldn’t a dedicated muse be on hand with detailed blockbuster ideas?

Tipsy isn’t happy with my complaints. She sent this angry muse-a-gram this morning: “I am NOT working under the alfluence of incohol!”

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