My muse wears tap shoes. And sateen pajamas. She has dark hair and a gleaming head. She wisecracks, she jokes, she drinks too much gin at times. But she floats across the floor on silent feet when she wants to and pulls up the chair right next to me.
She was born on a farm and doesn’t look away when the guts of food are being prepared, laid out before her. But she left, seeking other people who could look to the horizon and see something other than bad weather or a reason to be sad.
She looks up, she looks around, she looks down and she sees things that others don’t. She puzzles over the pattern of cracks in the sidewalk, the pattern of a spider web among the ferns, she looks always for the perfect orange and the perfect silver blue, which can never go together, but which are the most elusive, most delicious shades nature and the human hand can create.
She brings me little gifts of things I don’t know what to do with. Yet one more interesting secondary character who can take up days of my time dressing, educating, feeding, accessorizing. She gives me entire plots – jolted into my brain like they are freeze-dried. I’m not sure how to access them or in what order. I feel the need to compress them, to make enough room for them and the others that will come, even though I don’t feel any rush.
She gives me a little, shiny piece of music that squeezes my heart and makes me so unbearably glad I am alive – and sad for anyone who doesn’t get to feel like this at least once in a while. What if I had been born in a time when I had to just try to imagine what Bach sounded like?
She lets my eye be restful when it needs to be. She lets me be soothed by color and taste and touch. She makes my spine straighter and my foot surer.
She brought me boys to practice upon. Each with little shards of me in them, to file or sand as they decide. I like to think I guide them. But I don’t really think so. I think I’ve just helped them keep watch for their own muse and made room at the table for her.
She tucks me into the cushion in the corner of the couch. She helps me understand who I can talk to and who I can’t and helps prevent me from being an over eager puppy when I find a fellow traveler. She makes me untwirl the mystery of myself just a little bit more each time she visits and makes me feel like I have the tools to go out in the world without her one more time.