Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Murder! by Ginger Simpson

(Ginger Simpson will be our guest in the chatroom Sunday night, April 10.)

This face describes exactly how I’m feeling at the moment. Something has happened to my muse and I’m not sure what. Maybe she’s dead. Oh no!

For those of you who don’t understand the importance of a muse in writing, let me explain. I found the best description on Wikpedia, so just so you don’t think I plagiarize, I’m giving them full credit.

“In Greek Mythology, ‘the muses’ are a sisterhood of goddesses or spirits…, who embody the arts and inspire the creation process."

I don’t have room for the full sisterhood in my head, so I only use one. Although, I’m sure there are many things worse than sitting down at the computer and finding that your mind has turned into a blank screen–it’s not as life-altering as some experiences–it’s frustrating, nonetheless. I need my muse and hate when she abandons me.

Just a week ago, I came home from a writer’s meet-up, totally enthused about making headway on my latest work-in-progress, but someone or something killed my muse. Either that or she’s gone AWOL. If that’s the case, I doubt she’s wandered very far because lately all she wants to do is eat.

There is no cure for a lost muse. You simply have to wait until she comes back and is ready to write. It angers me because I’m up to the task, yet she’s the creative side I need–the person in touch with my characters, and the story flows through her.
I wonder if I should report this ‘crime’ to the police. She might be lying somewhere bleeding and injured. But then again, I might be overreacting. She’s taken a hiatus before, but never for quite this long. I’m a worrier by nature, so maybe I’ll give her a little while longer to come back.

Oh, wait…I think I see her. Or at least part of her. Whew…never mind the panic alert. I’ve found her with her head in the refrigerator and the biggest chunk of her talent hanging out. I’ll see if I can get that part back in the chair and get started on finishing Hattie’s Hero. I’m hoping to enter it in a competition and thus find a home for it. Here’s a little sample ‘we’ finished before she got hungry again and went on the prowl:

At the corner of First and Market Streets, Hattie paused and fished inside her valise for a slip of paper. The murky smell of the Mississippi drifted up to meet her, and a steamboat whistle drew her attention to the river. How wonderful to be able to drift along in such comfort and style. Perhaps she’d never experience it firsthand, but her spirits lifted when she unfolded the printed advertisement she’d found posted on the corkboard outside the mercantile.

Wanted: Responsible and caring young female to travel by wagon to California with a family of five—two adults and three children, two of which are twin infants. All expenses paid, meals furnished, and sleeping accommodations provided in return for assistance with the babies. Bonus at trip’s end. Leave word of interest with Mister Cronin, mercantile owner.

Hattie had already indicated her desire to travel with the family and today was meeting with Mister Franklin, the family’s husband and father to gain his approval. Whether or not they picked her, she wasn’t going back to the orphanage. She hadn’t asked permission to leave, but her absence wouldn’t cause a stir. Someone would take her place in an instant. Unsure what she would do if she wasn’t selected, she nibbled the biscuit she smuggled out from dinner last night and resolved to deal with bad news if and when it came.

Her palms turned moist the minute she spied a dapper gentleman standing outside Cronin’s. He wore the black Coachman’s hat as Mister Cronin had indicated he would.

Despite her churning innards, she closed the gap between them on leaden legs, managing and managed a weak smile. His tailored charcoal frock coat, starched white shirt and perfectly pressed trousers indicated a man of means. His thick moustache, broad shoulders, and angular jaw made him quite attractive, but clearly impatient if his tapping foot was any indication. A glance down at her tacky apparel brought warmth to her cheeks. If her employment rested on her looks…

She clamped the frayed handle of her valise so tightly, her nails dug into her palms. At least she’d braided her long, mousy hair and washed her face before bedtime last night. Pausing a few feet from the gentleman, she cleared her throat. “Are-are you Mister Franklin?”

“Indeed I am.” One brow lifted as his gaze started at her feet and ended with a curious stare into her eyes. “And you’re Miss Carson?” His shock was apparent.

“Yes, sir, but please call me Hattie.” She dipped her chin and took a deep breath.

“May I ask why you carry your luggage when we haven’t even discussed what will be required of you?”
Fueled by determination, she set her valise on the ground then looked up. “I hope I can convince you I’m the right person to help your missus with the children. I’ve had lots of experience dealing with young ones.”

Fishing a watch from his vest pocket, he checked the time, and then cocked his head. “You realize this won’t be an easy venture?” The timepiece’s golden chain dangled between his fingers.


Oh, and I have no objections if any publishers out there want to contact me about my story. *lol* I’m open to offers. (I hear it’s supposed to snow in hell tonight.)