Last time I checked I only had 2000 songs on my iPod. A drop in the auditory bucket compared to many people. Genres run the gamut from Alternative to World, with heaping helpings of Folk and Soundtracks, which is what usually accompanies me when I write. I know I've mentioned before I have "Music to Write Battle Scenes By", "Instrumentals for Social Commentary Poems", and "Tunes for Tormenting Protagonists".
So I was driving across the upper right hand corner of nowhere, hoping the turkeys stayed in the median, the mule deer on the side of the road, and the eagle in the sky above me, thinking about the UFN, which is really the AFFN (Almost Finished Fantasy Novel). I retraced plots in my mind, found a few loose ends, and was meditating on overall themes when a song came on the iPod, and the Muse of The Totally Obvious reached through the speakers and slapped me upside the head. (Hey, at least it wasn't a wild turkey running into the side of the car. I hate when that happens.)
Muse of TTO: "Listen up. You're whining about theme? I got your theme right here." WHAP
There it was, the song that summed up the AFFN. "One of Us" by Joan Osborne. (YouTube Video)
I listened. I thought about it. I grudgingly admitted the song was perfect in its own way for the AFFN, and put up with the boozy glow of self-satisfaction emanating from the Muse of TTO.
Muse of TTO: "Told you so. Now you try it. Just for a few minutes, I'll allow you to think on the Half-Finished Fantasy Novel (HFN) and those characters. Then I'll give you a hint in the next ten songs."
Me: "How are you controlling my iPod? You and your brother, the Luddite Muse, swore you didn't know anything about 'high-flutin' machinery gobbledegook', which is why I had to write fantasy if I wanted your help."
Muse of TTO: *mumbling* "I took a class, okay? Now shut up and listen."
By the time I slowed to read the minds of a herd of mule deer thinking – not very hard- of crossing the road, played pass the gravel truck and trailer to avoid a chipped windshield, and caught a regulation sized tumbleweed with my front bumper, the songs changed several times, and there it was. The song that summed up the HFN. "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" by Neil Diamond. (YouTube Video)
"You got to be kidding me," I said aloud.
Muse of TTO: WHAP. "I never kid."
"Horsehockey," I replied, "you always kid, which is why I can never tell when you're actually serious about something. Matter of fact, most of your ideas border on Writer Abuse. Waiting until I'm knee deep in a book then barrage me with interesting ideas for others."
Muse of TTO: "Yeah, that was rather amusing. Gabriele's Muse bet me your head would eventually explode. I figured you would forget 2/3rds of the ideas I gave you before you wrote them down. You're lucky the Short Story Muse swooped in and coerced a few of the ideas to her realm."
The iPod shuffles to a new tune. "Why can't I have a Pink Floyd song for a theme?" I whine.
Muse of TTO: WHAP. "Because. 'You Can't Always Get What You Want.'"
A plethora of gnome-like giggles comes from the back seat as I stifle a groan. "Fine." I crank the volume. "What about the MishMashed SciFi Novel?" (MSN)
Muse of TTO: "Since you are so all over the map with that one, I'll give you TWO songs to think about."
For a moment I thought the first would be "Donald Where's Your Troosers?" (YouTube Video) but it didn't really fit the MSN, and the TTO Muse wouldn't be that cruel. Would he? Nope, just a scare.
"You've got to be… uh, the best Muse of any struggling writer," I amend hastily.
Muse of TTO: "Damn straight. Now, if you don't mind, I've got a poker game to get to. Last time, we bankrupted Scott Oden's Finishing Muse and left him drunk, naked, and bunked on a submarine headed to
As I pass by the gate to a local ranch, there on top of a mailbox post, with a red balloon tied to his pipe hand, is a garden gnome. I barely had time to register the pointy hat and beard before my car flashed past. Was this the site of the elusive Muse-Gnome poker party? Or was it just the usual garden variety rural humor?
I didn't have to ponder too hard on that one. The song playing on the iPod as I barreled by the Ranch Gnome? "Wish You Were Here", by Pink Floyd. (YouTube Video)
Writers, if any of your Muses come up missing in the next few days, I think I know where they are…
*I am no way implying Scott is drunk, naked, and on a submarine off the coast of Norway. I think the Muse was implying it was Scott's Finishing Muse, but it wasn't quite clear over the raucous Gnome giggles just who the TTO Muse was talking about...