When the column appeared where I lamented that my longstanding muse, Claudette, had lost a significant amount of humor due to medication so I needed a new muse who could inspire my writing, several stepped up to volunteer for the newly vacated position.
One plea was particularly engaging. The email came with the subject line: Pick Me. The note read: "Standing at the back of the room, waving my arm frantically, jumping up and down, shouting, 'Pick me! Pick me!' I would be pleased to be your muse.' He signed it, "Your Muse In Waiting, Michael."
That's pretty funny and showed a lot of promise because the imagery that he created with that note coaxed me to laugh out loud. Good start for a muse whose primary function would be to encourage me to laugh, therefore putting me in good humor to write. Michael showed promise.
You may recall from the column about Claudette that she had run out of her medication and was too busy to visit the doctor for a new prescription. As soon the meds were out of her system, she returned to the quick-witted girl of our college days. I hadn't even realized that she had disappeared or that my storytelling was lagging a bit without her inspiration. During the two weeks that she was completely drug-free, I wrote so fast that my typing fingers could barely keep up. It seemed that every conversation with her inspired a terrific story. I knew to take advantage of it.
Then, alas, the doctor and his prescription pad returned and my creative world crashed.
"Sorry, buddy," she said.
"How could you?" I exclaimed.
"You'll find a new muse," she promised.
It's not that easy, though. A muse needs to be dedicated to the purpose of helping me to create stories that entertain and enlighten. Said muse should also present the world in a fashion that challenges my thinking or observations. In short, my readers and I should be better off because of the intervention of the muse.
Michael, the muse-want-to-be, was off to a good start. He made me laugh and he obviously understood the importance of concocting an image that was vivid. I could see myself standing in front of a packed room with a guy who was jumping up and down to get my attention.
Yep, Michael, in a couple of brief sentences, had gotten my attention. I wrote back to say his application had been received, accepted and was under very careful review. In my gut, I felt that I might have just found my new inspiration.
He was delighted to receive the news. Jobs are hard to find these days. And finding one that is a perfect fit and uses a person's natural talents and abilities? Well, those are about as easy as finding a vine-ripened, tasty tomato in December.
Then, he dropped the bombshell on me. "It is important for me to be truthful with you," he replied. "I am a transplanted Yankee."
Oh, my. A Southern writer with a Yankee muse? One of us partnering with one of them? Opposites, they say, attract but this was more like rivals crossing the battle line.
"I have Southern ways," he promised. "I say 'you reckon' and I always know 'who's on the pole.'"
I bit my lower lip and fretted a bit. Could it possibly work? Then I read further. "When I pass," he wrote. "I will be buried here."
Well, that certainly changed things. Anyone who wants his final resting place to be beneath six feet of Southern soil truly is one of us at heart. The land is like air to a Southerner. It sustains us.
I reconsidered. He could certainly show me life from a different point of view. He could supply insider information. He could enlighten and entertain. Perfect.
Looks like I found my new muse.
Ronda Rich is the best-selling author of the forthcoming "There's A Better Day A-Comin." Visit www.rondarich.com.