Happily Ever After

Once again, I am accosted by a blank page staring at me, intimidating me with its whiteness, with its emptiness. In fact, my brain has been abducted by aliens who have drained it of all creativity and the requisite thought processes. Well, when I speak of aliens, I really mean people of a certain political shade in a very large country that is currently going through a lot; people who are trying to destroy democracy as we know it in that country.

This site is not a political one, so I will swerve away from that now, or at least keep my musings generalized. However, I bring this up as an explanation of how one can become so mentally consumed by a situation that it completely prevents the imagination from functioning.

Once upon a time I wrote a story about a woman with this very same problem; she had abandoned her muse. Her laptop stood in a corner gathering dust, and she went about her life going to work, and cleaning, shopping and cooking, ignoring that other side of herself that used to be so vital to her wellbeing.

Until one day, she shared the elevator up to her flat with an elderly, musty-smelling lady. This lady got out of the elevator on the same floor as she did. She, my protagonist, assumed she would be visiting her neighbor, Mrs. Miller, an equally musty-smelling elderly lady. She was taken aback when the lady followed her to her own door, even followed her in and pushed her way past her to remove her coat and hang it up. It was as if she knew her way around. She was dressed in a very plain gray suit which matched her short, curly gray hair and her gray, wrinkled complexion. On her feet were flat, black shoes, the kind preferred by such ladies. My protagonist (let’s give her a name, shall we?), Lucy, stared at her baffled. The lady stared back.

“You don’t remember me, do you?” the elderly woman said with annoyance.

“No, I’m afraid I don’t,” Lucy answered.

“Humph. I’m Thalia, your muse.”

“Oh? Oh!! It’s been a long while. You are looking…well,” Lucy lied.

“No, I don’t. And it’s all you fault.” Thalia proceeded to reach into the dusty corner of the living room for the laptop, while Lucy watched open-mouthed.

“But…but…what are you doing?”

“It’s time.”

“Time? For what?”

“Come on, Lucy! It’s time you sat down with your laptop and started working again.”

Lucy sighed. “I haven’t got anything to say. I’m afraid my imagination has quite dried up.”

Thalia ignored her statement, opened the case, and set up the laptop on the dining table. “I expect your password is still the same?”

Lucy nodded.

“So, sit down and tell me a story.”

Lucy couldn’t think of a way to refuse Thalia’s command. She sat down and Thalia sat down next to her. Lucy opened a new Word. Document. As she did that simple act, a strange tingling sensation crept into her head. The tingling made her almost giddy. And it progressed down to her heart. There it made a U-turn and headed up, into her shoulders and down her arms until it reached her hands. She flexed her fingers and felt their tips becoming electrified.

She looked at Thalia for a moment and then began writing about Thalia’s strange appearance at her door. She quickly got into the rhythm of the tale and typed and typed. As evening closed in, she got up to turn on a light. When she turned back to the old woman who had been sitting next to her, she jumped in astonishment.

Thalia was now a slender young woman dressed in tight jeans and a shocking pink sweater. Under the table Lucy saw her feet shod in a pair of trainers in the same pink shade. Lucy gazed at her in disbelief and saw her clear blue, sparkling eyes. Her wrinkled face now had the blush of a thirty-year-old. Her hair was long and fell in gentle chestnut-hued waves. This was the Thalia Lucy had known in earlier days.

Thalia smiled at her. “There, now you have a fantasy tale to tell, don’t you?”

As for Lucy, she, too, smiled from ear to ear and hugged Thalia tight. “Yes, yes! Please don’t ever leave me again.”

Thalia sighed. “I won’t argue with you about who left whom. But it’s a two-way street, girl.”

Lucy sat down again at her laptop, and (this is how all good German fairytales end) if she hasn’t died, she is still writing stories happily ever after.

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Now, Lucy has no guarantee that Thalia has moved in to stay. But perhaps the odds have improved.

Images provided by Wikimedia Commons, Public domain

5 Comments

  1. Oh, yes, I recognise this feeling well. In my case often caused by despair at the unnecessary pain and suffering caused by one section of the human population to another. In fact it often comes down to the decision of one person, generally but not always a man, to make others oppress another people on his behalf. They don’t have to get their own hands dirty. It often occurs to me that sometimes we should put two opponents like these into a locked room and leave them to settle their differences without involving innocent lives.
    It can occasionally be used to advantage and in a creative way, like the rage I felt when, at the beginning of the pandemic, government spokespeople gaily talked of ‘staying at home’, ‘not going out’ etc… I thought “What if you don’t have a home?’ and that set me off in pursuit of a tale of a homeless person during the pandemic.
    I love your muse accosting you and making you begin writing again. Long may it endure.

  2. My elderly, fusty-smelling lady dropped me a note the other day. She explained she’d love to visit, but cannot while the kids are still at home. There’s just too much friction, she says. Get the cover done, get the title, blurb and synopsis finally fixed and submit it all to a publisher or two, and she’ll stop by for a cup of tea, or maybe even a nip of sherry.

  3. Jos Biggs

    Great!
    At some time or another we all suffer with White Page Syndrome!

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