Jon de Vos: Awaiting the Muse
October 6, 2011
While I’m writing this column, I sometimes stare out into space, waiting for my muse. My wife calls it snoring, but I guess the pertinent fact is that I loiter a lot in front of my keyboard.
To ensure good loitering practices, I keep loitering snacks in front of me. Cheez-its are good loitering snacks, for instance. So are guacamole-flavored potato chips. That way you don’t have to waste time mushing up a bunch of avocados, leaving lots more time for writing. If you have something to write about.
Safeway should sell writers’ topics, right next to the Cool Ranch Doritos. What a time saver! Why don’t they just sell humorous columns? They could have a little concession stand called Writerbucks.
Sometimes my writer’s block is defined as the huge mound of empty snack wrappers blocking my view of the monitor. It’s easy to get bored with writing when you can’t see the screen. So bored. Bored, bored, bo … Wow! After a couple hours waiting for my muse, I seem to have a Cheez-it stuck in my ear. I can barely hear my editor’s telepathic email, “YOU’VE GOT DEADLINE!” I sit bolt upright and with both arms I part the detritus on my desktop like Moses after the Red Sea. I can see the screen again. Problem is, it’s still blank.
Awaiting the muse, I stared out the window into the dog pen where our small but deranged dog, Cuervo, was leaping after crows. He was falling about 40 feet short on each try but remained undaunted and enthusiastic, nonetheless. Hmm, I thought to myself, I could write about Cuervo catching a crow … my muse was disturbed by a throaty growl behind me.
I whirled around to face our fat basset, Freeta, comfortably sprawled across the sofa reading the Wednesday comics. She growled louder, “Don’t write about him again,” she said, “Why don’t you write about me? Write about the time that I saved Timmy from the well.”
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“I won’t,” I said, “because that never happened and you don’t know anyone named Timmy. Timmy was a fictional character on Lassie.”
She pondered this for a moment then said, “Well, Lassie was my mom.”
“No,” I said, “Lassie was a collie and you’re a lying basset hound.”
She changed the subject, “You know, I could catch a crow if I wanted.”
I stared at her, “Before you could catch a crow, you’d have to get off the sofa, my little tubby pal, and we both know that doesn’t happen without bacon-flavored kibbles.”
She heaved a theatrical sigh and turned back to her newspaper. Then she said, “Oh look, here’s an article you’ll be interested in. Champagne makers are bottling tiny eight-ounce bottles of champers for pathetic losers who have something to celebrate and no friends to celebrate with. Don’t you have a birthday coming up soon? Why don’t you buy a bottle? You could invite all your friends over for a toast and still have lots of champagne left over.”
“Why you …” I snarled.
“You’ll what?” she barked, “Boot me off the couch? You big bully, if I had thumbs, I’d roll up this newspaper and give you what for!”
I stared at her in amazement, “That’s my line, not to mention my newspaper.”
We both jumped when the dog door blew open and Cuervo shot into the room with an ear to ear grin and a couple of black feathers sticking to his lips.
Freeta and I stared at each other.
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