Me and My Muse


Anne Michael

It’s been a fine batch of days as autumn makes its feeling known on the west coast of Florida. We long-timers have been wearing sweaters, delighted with the wardrobe change. The snowbirds sport tank tops, shorts and sunburns; they are delighted with their wardrobe changes too. It’s been during this batch of days that my muse just up and left. 

I was hanging out in the small park with the big purple fountain across from my office the other day, sipping some tea and talking with my muse at lunch time. I felt lucky that I could even get the ole muse to spend time with me at all. We had a couple of weeks of vacation. We relaxed and had a good time going our separate ways. When we met back in the middle the words flowed wonderfully, and I got a lot of writing done. This past week, the muse has been very quiet. I really have no idea what I did to irritate the critter, but the words have dried up like a mud puddle in the middle of July, and I find myself at a loss.  

I decided to read a few books hoping that the muse and I could find some common ground and the words would flow like the Colorado rapids. That didn’t happen. In fact, it’s taken me all week to write two paragraphs. I’ve been as encouraging as I could be. I even baked cookies as a peace offering. No luck; my husband loved them, however.

The bad part is that my column is due and I’m wordless. Fortunately, Dean Koontz is not. In fact, it was his book, Brother Odd, that I read this week. It is the third book in a series about a young man named Odd Thomas, the name due to an error on his birth certificate that never got fixed. Odd is someone who communes with the dead and as a result ends up in some creepy and scary predicaments. I’ve been waiting and waiting for this book to come out in paperback. So you can imagine I was thrilled to find it when I went grocery shopping. I know it might seem silly to wait when I could have read the book in hardcover, but since  the first two books in the series I own are paperback, I wanted the same. I like sets to match whenever possible. What a deliciously fun read, though! It went down as easily as a tall, cold glass of tea in the heat of summer and was just as refreshing. I didn’t have to cogitate or ponder anything. I was entertained, thrilled, scared and amused by parts and degrees from first page to last. It is my hope that there will be a fourth book in the series since I do so like Odd Thomas. And I’m grateful, that Mr. Koontz has a muse that doesn’t seem to abandon him on a whim or when the weather cools down.  

Another prolific author, John Grisham, who seems to have a rather energetic muse, wrote a book called The Painted House which I’d started it a few years ago. I’d taken it on a business trip and unfortunately lost it. (Don’t you hate it when stuff like that happens?) It was a book that I’d been enjoying greatly until I misplaced it. One of the pavers on my road of good intentions was to get another copy and finish reading it. I finally found it in the library at the end of October. It was wonderful—not one of the usual legal mysteries for which Grisham is known—but instead a story of a young boy on a farm with multiple generations of family, of how his house that had not been painted in 50 years got painted and his life there till he left, never to go back. It was a story of hope for the future, kindness and the sort of surprises in life most of us end up having such as finding out that some people we think are bad, are really people just like ourselves, struggling to get by. Reading it was a fantastically relaxing time, an evening during which I could sit with that book, immersed in a world and a time not much different from the one in which I grew up.  

I also started another book, Spirit Gate, by Kate Elliot, an author new to me. It’s been slow going as I navigate this new world full of previously unknown characters and places that don’t really exist. Such bliss! I have a feeling as I get further in I’m going to be in for a real treat especially with the nights growing longer and chillier—even here in Florida. Snowbirds will be sitting on their lanais patting themselves on the back for having escaped the clutches of old man winter, but the we fulltime Floridians will be settling in for a few months watching movies in the evening or curled up under blankets with a really good book of the variety that I just started or the ones I’ve already read this week.

If you’re anything like me, you might find it tough being patient waiting for the muse or creative spirit of your life to return or for the delights of summer to come back. As for my muse, I expect it will return in due course. In the meantime,  however, we can always read a book. I’m grateful that there are lots of writers whose ideas and words don’t desert them. I hope you’ll find that settling down for an evening with your favorite author as we head into winter is just the thing to pass that extra time. Happy reading.

And, by the way, if you see my muse tell it to phone home!

At age 10, Anne realized she was never going to get to be Miss America since reading a book was not an acceptable talent. So she went on to get a job and raise a family. Along the way, she fixed meals, picked up toys, helped with homework, and collected a drawer full of rejection slips for her “great American novel.” It was not all bad, however, since she ended up wallpapering a closet with them. She currently designs and creates greeting cards for her tiny company, The Frog Prints, LLC, and also works full-time as a Training Specialist. Anne is currently tethered to reality by a loving spouse, two dogs, one cat and the occasional hurricane that blows through Florida, although falling headlong and happily into a book is still her favorite “talent.” She can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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