Monthly Archives: December 2012

Romancing the Muse


Apollo: Daphne, no! No! And by Jovenian, why a tree?
Daphne: Oh, I think you know, poet god. I think you know…

Because from a tree comes a big, fat block. Looks like even Apollo had issues with writer’s block. Sure, if you want to get literal, you could say that Daphne wasn’t a Muse and she was definitely blocking something else, but read the subtext of the myth and you might find that Classical writers probably suffered as much as the rest of us.

In fact, our universal personification of inspiration as a beautiful thing is probably way, way off.

Stephen King says the Muse is a basement and cellar kind of guy—a paunchy, hairy, cigar-smoking fairy as opposed to these goddesses on Mt. Aeolus that doled out creativity to men like Homer and Sophocles and Aristophanes.


You mean the Master of Horror was behind THIS? Hell, makes sense…

Poets have been romanticizing this process for as long as it’s been going on, and it’s all bulls—. I don’t believe in Deus Ex Machina, or Divine Inspiration, or any of that.

Stephen King is the only one telling the truth. The Muse is not a classical goddess. The Muse is not a shoulder fairy with pompoms and leg warmers, a benevolent spirit doing cartwheels and heel kicks on your scapula, shouting, W-R-I-T-E! Write! Write!

The truth is the Muse is a real douche bag. And if you want to get anything out of him, you have to close pin his wings together and beat him with a tack hammer.

My Muse looks like a miniaturized version of Fontaine from Bioshock. He gets around on a pair of thin, greasy wings that look like a gene-spliced job. Splicer. He’s always just out of reach, calling me boyo and threatening to deny me Rapture if I don’t feed him[1].


Oh, what I’m going to put you through today for revealing my existence to the world, boyo. Did you actually feel like getting your 3,000 words? Now there are nothing but bunnies in your head. Happy, cutesy bunnies. Enjoy that.

Would you kindly eat this entire Dominoes pizza and side of butter? It’s unsalted. Enjoy that.

Sometimes the son of a b—- makes me do household chores, update my hygiene, pay the bills. Inspiration isn’t cheap, and he gets his due first.

Would you kindly clean the oven? Would you kindly take the car in for an oil change? Would you kindly give this donut some face time? No, the other one. Bearclaw. That’s it.

This is why artists, real artists, are either drug addicts or insane.

I should say something inspirational here, but then I’d be lying too. This isn’t about inspiration. This is a knock-down, drag-out fight between the splicer and me. This is the part where I chase the blinking cursor till my fingers pound like pneumatic pistons and my vision blurs. This is the part where I get the Muse to say, Would you kindly finish your novel and take what’s yours? 

[1] Fontaine is the villain in the critically acclaimed Sci-Fi shooter Bioshock, which takes place during the Cold War in a Neo-Atlantis called Rapture. “Splicer” is a reference to the game’s genetically altered humans. Fontaine was able to control the protagonist by using the phrase, “Would you kindly…?” 


Filed under My Writing, Publishing, Rants, Reading, Science Fiction, Writing

High School Teachers Are Mini Rock Stars

One of the perks (and curses) of teaching in my own community is the instant recognition everywhere I go. Sometimes, I get that Fight Club-esque situation in which I’m told not to eat the soup or fish, but whatever I order is discounted or free of charge. Sometimes, I’m given strange accolades whilst shopping at the local Fry’s, accolades from students who attend the neighboring high school and speak my third party legend as if they had experienced actual face time with me. I’m even getting to the point where the cops don’t pull me over anymore, which is fortunate because I’m a procrastinator and drive like I’m perpetually playing a video game.

Forsooth, and there shall come a moment in 2013 when this blog is banned from the school server because students are reading it in class. I can’t wait for that conversation with my boss.

Principal: You teach Shakespeare, but you’re writing about evil mafia beavers? Do we need to get you some help, Dan?

Me: Wait. You’re actually reprimanding me for getting students to read?

Despite that looming inevitability, the true downfall to my undeserved celebrity status in my little pocket of Central Arizona is that I am human, and sometimes I wish my purchases at the local grocery stores and circle jerks were a bit less… public. My paparazzi is primarily comprised of older teens and young twenty-somethings, after all.

Consider the following situation:

Em: Dan honey, I’m cramping soooooo bad! I need you to run out for me and get pads.

Me: (aside) Fie on it! Fie! Fie! ‘Tis an unweeded garden! Things rank and gross in nature…

Em: Huh? Are you talking to me, babe? Asides don’t work in real life. This has been such a stressful year for you. Do we need to get you some help, Dan?

Me: No, no, I’m fine. Pa-aads… Which kind are they? The Ultra Wings of Great Justice or something?

Em: I’ll text it to you. You’ll forget.

Me: Ok.

Em: Thanks, baby. Oh, and don’t forget to pick up Aurie’s diarrhea medication while you’re there. I called it into the pharmacy.

Me: Diarrhea. Anything else?

Em: Oh, I could use a girly drink. Maybe a Bahama Mama or a Mojito or something? You know what I like…

Me: (aside) …or that the Almighty had not fixed his canon ‘gainst self slaughter!

Em: I can hear you… And aren’t you reciting that soliloquy backwards?

(At the store… Which one doesn’t matter because the students work everywhere…)

In the feminine hygiene and family planning aisle:

Me: (talking loudly into my cell because I have no sense of the sound of my own voice) No, Emi, I’m telling you, this thing you want doesn’t exist!

3 Students That Graduated Last Year: (as they turn the corner) PIIIIIIIIKE! We thought we heard your voice!

Me: (laughing nervously and slinking away) Yeah, you’d know it pretty well, I guess…

Student: Here getting the supplies, I see!

Me: Oh yeah…(realizing the family planning section is behind) Heh…

Em: (still on the phone) Dan? What’s going on? Are you still there?

At the pharmacy:

Me: Yeah, I’m here to pick up the Mega Colonate…

2 More Students: PIIIIIIIIKE! Teaching at the pharmacy on your night off! That’s dedication!

Me: Of course! Now, pharmacy technician, you understand that a colon functions like a pregnant pause…

In the liquor aisle:

Me: (looking both ways) Pweh! Fuzzy Navel?

4 More Students: PIIIIIIIIKE!!! …wha? What’s that sissy $#%@?! We thought you were a man’s man!

Me: No, listen! This isn’t for me… (grabbing a 24 pack of Dos Equis–the crappy amber kind, too!–and speaking in a husky voice) I don’t always drink beer, but hwoo-when I do…

In the parking lot:

(cell rings)

Me: (answering) Hey, Em. Yeah I think I got everything… And then some. Wait… What? You never asked me to pick up Emasculatos for Kiera’s breakfast? In a text message. I see… Right, the pink box with the cuddly kittens. Got it.

7 Students in the Parking Lot: PIIIIIIIIIIIKKKKKKKKEEEEEEEEE!!!!!

Me: O, that this too, too solid flesh would melt, thaw, and resolve itself into a dew!

Student: He’s so epic! He’s in the car reciting that thing from Borderlands 2 into his phone! It must be some kind of code!

Me: (weakly) Fie on’t… Fie, fie…


Filed under Education, Family, My Writing, Rants, Reading, Uncategorized, Writing


If you’re on this blog instead of with the family drinking egg nog, you have this coming…


December 25, 2012 · 5:14 pm