I Keep My Muse in the Cellar

She's waiting for you down here.

Well, not exactly.

I live in California and we don’t have cellars here. Nor do I have a basement. But I guess I have a cellar in the recesses of my mind. It’s a dark and dank place filled with cobwebs and crawling things that nibble on my toes when I’m not looking. It’s a place where my worst fears set up camp and every once in a while they climb up the stairs and knock on the door to the rest of the house to get my attention. Other times, I find I’ve left the door open a crack and they creep into my forebrain. This usually occurs when I’m alone in a dark place and every noise becomes a monster.

But those creepy-crawlies are just primal fears and horrors. They’re not the meat and potatoes. No, more than any of this, the cellar is where I keep my muse.

After a quick Twitter discussion with R.C. Murphy, I got to thinking about what my muse looks like. Funny thing is, I didn’t have to think much at all.

My muse is a little girl.

She’s about eight years old and wears a pink dress that ties in the back. Her hair is pinned back with a soft pink bow and the rest falls about her shoulders in ringlets. She wears white tights and black doll shoes and holds her hands in front of her, ever-clasped, and she looks up at you and says, “I am innocent, I can do no wrong.”

What she doesn’t tell you, however, is that she’s the master of the aforementioned creepy-crawlies. She sends them out to do her bidding and she sits back and laughs and twirls around to see how much she can make her dress fan out.

She is every stereotypical horror film’s “creepy child” rolled into one. She’s me. She’s what I could have become. She whispers secrets–dark ones–in my ear and forces me to write them down. “Or else,” she says.

Or else.

So, what does your muse look like? Does it have a face? If you haven’t personified your inspiration, how would you describe it?

 

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