An Open Letter To My Muse

Hey, it’s me.

But you probably know that.

This is not a complaint, mind you.

Only an observation.

I notice you haven’t been around lately.

Maybe a month? Or two.

That is your call of course.

You can bestow, or not. As you please. I get it.

(Am I allowed to address you directly? I heard that Muses dwell in another realm. So maybe I’m breaking protocol.)

It’s just that I have a piece to write today.

By 2pm or so.

And I’m wondering.

Will you be back? Or. . .

Because, these clients, I like them and can’t let them down.

(And I could use the fee. It is handsome.)

Yes, I can muddle through alone, unaided.

I am not helpless for Chrissake.

I have been turning out work.

It is competent and workmanlike and clients like it okay.

But it is flat and formulaic. I feel bad about it.

See, with your ‘input’, something stirs. Things lights up.

I write better than I actually can.

I type far above my pay grade. I sound smarter than I am.

I watch the sentences spin themselves out on screen and get goosebumps.


I live for that.


Yes, you have always been generous.

Most Muses won’t touch corporate work. Or any kind of marketing.

So I owe you that.

And we do have history.

In fourth grade, when I had to write that report on soybeans.

And I left it till the night before?

You saved my ass.

(“The Legume with a Leg Up.”)

I know that was you.


And when I had to take the final in English Lit, with that accidental hangover.

You dictated two whole blue books . . .




Is this because I didn’t use that idea you gave me two months ago?

For the insurance company?

Oh jeez. No.

What you gave me was brilliant.

Better than I could ever dream up.

But that client . . .

They never go for ‘edgy.’

They want plain vanilla and rounded corners.

It was a quick editorial decision. That’s all.


And note that three days later, I DID use what you gave me:

“Sound brilliant in French.”

That one line was enough.

I riffed on it all afternoon and reeled off an entire website at fever pitch.

The client was practically tumescent.

He changed not a word.

(I sometimes read it just to cheer myself up.)

You get full credit there.

So, can we pick up where we left off?

(Because I have this thing due by 2pm. 2:30 at the outside.)

I can’t let these people down. I like them.

I need one good concept. One paragraph to get me going.

One line, even. One line with juice in it.

Yes, I know the ground rules:

At the desk.

Document open.

No social media. No web.

No Netflix. No beer.

Keep typing.

Try in earnest.

Do not stop.

Try deeply.

One hour, two hours.

Then . . .


I’m here.  Since 5:45 this morning.

Trying in earnest.

Ready.  Whenever.

(By 2pm if poss.)

I really like these people.




See?  This is 300-400 characters too long. I bet you would have nixed the soybeans and the English Lit final. You would have trimmed the ‘Muse Rules’ and given me something better than ‘goosebumps.’

But those refrains, ‘I like these people’ and ‘By 2pm.’  That was good, right?