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Well, It's about Time

by Patric Quinn

Patric's bio:  I grew up in the endlessly fascinating New York/New Jersey Metro area. It was a big playground united by tunnels, trains, bridges and ferry boats. My adult territory grew until my zig-zag adventures took me half way around the world. What intrigued me were the revealing behaviors of people I met, the unexpected. Except for running over the whale, everything was people action, all kinds, with all kinds of results. I think that shows up in my stories and books. Life is not neat, everything doesn’t turn out just so

"It's about time."

"What? Who are you?"

"I'm your muse, Howard."

"How did you get in here anyway?"

"Muses can filter through things, Howard. Like doors and walls. And an imagination."

"You barge in unannounced and you even know my name?"

"Muses are like that, Howard. Don't talk so much. Get to work."

"That's why I'm pecking away at this keyboard. But nothing's happening."

"Keep pecking."

"That's a lot of help, not. How do I know you're really a muse? You don't look like a muse. Jeans and a t-shirt. That's not musey. Where is your filmy, see-through gown or whatever that thing you float around in is?"

"That's for special occasions. You're not special, Howard."

"And you're not even floating around, just loafing in my armchair."

"Hey, look, this is a desperate case job. I'm wearing work clothes, okay? I'm supposed to get you writing. Instead of all the fooling around you do."

"Fooling around! I don't fool around. Here I am at my computer."

"What time is it, Howard?"

"11:15. So what?"

"And you haven't written a word. What time did you get up? Oh, don't bother telling me. Three hours ago, right?"

"All right, three hours ago. So what?"

"Stephen King would be half way through writing a new book in three hours. What have you been doing?"

"This. But I really should straighten out this messy desk before I start."

"No, Howard. First you rolled over at 7:30 and loafed for half an hour. When you finally got up, you made coffee. Even though you knew you were going to miss your 8:30 meeting, you had a second cup. Some time lost there. Then you watched the news on TV, more time burned up. Then..."

"News is important. You have to know what's happening in the world."

"And then you thought about writing something for tomorrow. Because you haven't written anything for god knows how long. Some writer. And even then you decided to empty the dishwasher first. And then, but never mind....."

"What is all this about,...er....whatever your name is? What is your name anyway?"

"I'm Olive. And I'm assigned to your case. I get the desperate ones."

"What's desperate about me?"

"You say you want to write, but it's like pulling teeth to get you to do it. Like you think you're some special character. But you're not, Howard. The world is full of writers who don't write."

"And, well, it's not like writers are encouraged to write.....unless you're King or Clive Cussler or Mary Higgins somebody. You know, with agents and publishers who print anything they dream up and pat them on the head and give them little publishing parties. And their drone readers trudge out and buy the same stuff over and over. And the money pours in over and over."

"Oh, Howard. Real writers don't write for money. They write because they have something to say. Even if you don't agree with them. Or they have a story to tell. Or they invent a character and wonder where he's going or what she'll do. Don't you get it? It's a private little world. The writer's world. Your world. It's not about money."

"All well and  good, but it's hard to get warmed up. Hard to make 'my world' come to life."

"Now, we're getting somewhere. Of course, it's hard. Most of the time. Once in awhile, it comes easy.  Let's assume you want to be a writer....."

"Olive! I am a writer!"

"Oh, really? Well, then start hitting that keyboard."

"I don't know what to write."

"Write that. That you don't know what to write. And then keep writing about that. And about who in your thinking is involved."

"But it's all a big mishmash."

"What would your character do about it?"


"The 'who' that's involved in your thinking, that character. What would that character say? Or do? If the character is real, what did he or she say or do?"

"That only happens sometimes. Rarely."

"But, don't you see it, Howard? Then you're writing, your character is coming alive. She talks to you about what's coming. He argues with your idea of the next twist."

"But that's just one character."

"And the others come along and start getting into the action. Their way. Mixing it up with the good guys and the bad guys, the women and the men, the young and old. And you're into it, too. You're writing all this. Writing, writing, writing. Do you feel it, Howard? Has it ever happened to you? That you are in your story, on the street where the action is happening, the rain falling, the wind blowing, ....that whole world alive."

"Yeah, yeah. Sometimes, sometimes......but..."

"That's writing, Howard. You're sucked into your own world as you're creating it. Sometimes you lose track of time and go on and on."

"Yeah, well, there's some truth in what you say, but it's easy to say while you're lounging in that big comfy armchair. Whoever heard of a muse in jeans and t-shirt?"

"You get the important thing, 'You're sucked into your own world as you're creating it'. What your muse looks like doesn't matter....in your own world."

"If you were the muse in my own world, Olive, you'd be wearing that filmy, see-through thing the other muses wear."

"I could very well show up in the worlds you create, Howard, just to give you a nudge from time to time.....at some tricky spot. Maybe even wearing that filmy thing. Now why don't you start massaging that keyboard to your world? Open the gate."

"Well, okay. At least, I have an opening line, 'It was a dark and stormy night...'"

"Oh, geez, Howard."

"Who ever heard of a muse that says, 'Oh, geez'"


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