Friday, August 14, 2009

A Muse?

Asked, once, what my idea of a Muse was, I turned around and this is what happened.

The pressure doors slam closed but a hiss of escaping air can be heard.

"There is your beginning. Now, write your way out of it. You don't write, you die."

She's like that. Forceful. Insistent. Pain in the neck.

Her whisper's soft in my ear. "Write."

Her people are all like that, or so I've heard. They are old. They have had many names.

"Silence! That is not a tale you can sing." Her words bounce off the metal walls, harsh.

Can she read minds?

She looks at me, smiles enigmatically and closes her eyes. Her speech takes on the cadence of long-held memory.

"We were old, and the world older still, when first the northern peoples found us. We sang to them, calling on their wisest, putting their fears to rest.

"In the darkness while the Sun rested far away and the wolves ran thin, crying in the night, we sang to the people. We taught them the names of the stars and gave them words for what they saw. From us they learned to mark the times and cycles, when to birth, sow, to reap. When to die.

"Some of their own, a few, learned the songs and to sing. They became guides for their people. They sat at our feet and heard.

"We sang of the older time, when the darkness remained and the Sun, gone away, did not return. The wolves were more than thin and did not cry in the night. We sang of the white that covered all and wrapped the world in cold.

"We stayed with them and were there when the great stones were heaped, one upon the other. We taught those who would hear and learn, how to arrange the stones, how to make the pattern. We taught them songs to build and bind. We taught them songs to rip and rend.

"We held them to us through the long nights, and kept their fear at bay.

"We sang in shared joy as the Sun, returning again, rose over the Heel Stone or, seen through the roof box, brightened the inner chamber. We set them upon the road as the cycle began again, our songs as guides."

She opens her eyes and looks down at me, seeming to have gained twice her stature during the song.

"Some of them, a few, learned the songs and to sing. They became guides for their people."

"So," and she glances at the gauge on the wall. "You have lost 32% of your air. Write. Write or die."


  1. And who was it,really, that helped shape the ancient people?
    A great story, as always. A juxtaposition of poetic romanticism and harsh reality.

  2. Get writing, man, before you loose consciousness! This is wonderful, Kevin. Very poetic prose. But me in mind of the Elder Edda. As Laura said, the juxtaposition of the ancient with the SF is executed well. Beware your muse. She just may kill you!

  3. If she would just be quiet... you could that writing done. I think sometimes our muse is a bigger distraction.
    I can't help it, but the last line made me smile. Great story

  4. Thanks Laura, I'm good with poetic romanticism, not so good with reality. :-}

  5. The prose went through a number of revision, to get the tone correct. I need to look into the Elder Edda - thanks for the hint.

  6. Chatty, isn't she? Ah, but what tales she spins. Glad I could make you smile.

  7. whoa, your idea of a muse is really very scary. still, if you keep on like that you should be ok, she can't really complain that you're not doing your job :-) Beautiful stuff.
    (have you seen ?)

  8. Agreed. I need a Muse that understands me - and she seems to do the trick. Glad you enjoyed it.
    I've just checked out writeordie - OMG, I have to try that sometime. Not so sure about having words un-write themselves, but what an incentive!

  9. Write or die. In a figurative way, I guess that's the way we all feel. That's the choice we all would probably make. Good stuff.

  10. Glad you enjoyed it Stephen. I agree, the story does describe what it's like for many.

  11. I like your ferocious version of a muse. Definitely motivating that approach. This was lyrical and lilting in places yet the opening and the ending helped build pace. Merged two styles well. Good read.

  12. Love it, Kevin! This is so cool. I imagine my muse this way! I wrote a poem about the Muse when she leaves us, you might like. It can be read here, if you want to read it;

    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Maria. It's one I've always liked. I wouldn't mind creating a few more of her "songs", for I like the flavor of her speech.