I stole this photo on Facebook from Amy McMahon Hankins's Photos. It's a photo of Seward, Alaska, about 36 miles south of me--the closest town.
I was all set to go to Seward tonight. Of course, it doesn’t look like that lovely photo above right now because it’s covered in snow and ice, but I was going there anyway.
I’d been planning the trip for ten days. I had two sacks of trash loaded in the bed of the pickup truck to drop off at the dump site on the way. I’d taken a shower, put on clean clothes, got all the paraphernalia together that has to accompany me (cell phone, camera, driver’s license and credit cards, cash, and a notebook with pen.) whenever I leave home.
I’d switched from house shoes to outdoor shoes, put on my teal colored fleece jacket, and opened the door to the truck. I even sat down in the driver’s seat.
That darned old muse pushed me out of the truck and slammed its door. It marched me over to the wooden pegs, yanked off my lovely teal fleece jacket and hung it up. It pulled my feet out of the outdoor shoes and stuffed them into the indoor shoes, and marched me upstairs to the loft.
So much for the movie. I’d really been looking forward to it, too. “Big Miracle.” Okay, I haven’t seen it but it was filmed entirely in Alaska, which is a big WHOOP for us up here. A positive whoop, that is. We’re really tired of stuff like Northern Exposure, which was filmed in Washington state, for Pete’s sakes.
And the plot? Ah, a favorite of mine. Three whales trapped by ice in northern Alaska. It was a big story on the news way back when it really happened, and a bunch of folks used chain saws to cut a series of holes in the ice to lead the whales to open water.
Anyway, there I was in the loft, seated in front of the computer and my fingers flying around the keys, some of the time hitting the correct ones. That happens when the muse is giving dictation.
This is the backstory to why I missed the movie on the last night it was playing in Seward: I hang out with a bunch of others at Ann Linquist Writes. She’s a writer and a writing instructor and most of us have taken courses from her. Just for fun, she throws out writing prompts for us to feast on, write about, and post at her site.
Her most recent one didn’t say much to me for a couple days. Then, just before I was going to shut down the computer and go to the movie, I checked her site one more time. Several people had posted, but I try not to read their stuff before I write mine. I read the prompt again and WHAM! I started writing.
I stuffed some notes into a notebook, made sure I had a pen, and loaded us all in the truck. That’s when that impatient muse showed up and said, “No movie for you tonight.”
You would think I could have finished the story AFTER the movie, right? Not a chance. Not when the muse is here.
Someday I’d like to be the boss of myself.
The hell I would. I wouldn’t miss the thrill of a visit from the muse for anything. Ever.