Friday, September 19, 2014

Searching for the muse

Well ... here we are again. I've been at my new job for almost two weeks now and at the time that I am writing this, I still possess roughly the same number of body appendages that I had when I worked at the newspaper. My wife thinks I have less hair but she's kind of ornery.

This is a different kind of creative atmosphere than what I am normally accustomed to. It used to be that I would sit at my desk in the office on every other Thursday morning, and stare at the screen until divine intervention would occur and I'd stumble around the keyboard until a column came out. At that point, I would let Donna Barker read it because I've always considered her somewhat of a moral compass for me. Then I would submit it to the editor, Terri Simon, and find out just how little I know about English grammar.

Usually, if the muse would not visit and give me anything intelligent to write about in the arena of national politics or economic policy, I'd end up putting some gibberish together about something my wife had done and/or said. This strategy has literally provided a treasure-trove of Saturday columns.

But now, everything has changed. My creative world is in disarray. I'm sitting here at my kitchen table typing away while she is a mere 18 to 19 and a half inches away (depending on the placement of her elbow) grading students' papers or whatever it is she does when she's sitting at this table. And she's talking. To me. About stuff.

She's talking about things that she evidently believes I should find important. All I am hearing is "Blah, blah, blah, blah, sticker for the license plate. Blah, blah, blah, insurance payment is due. Blah, blah, blah, the new pizza place is open. Blah, blah, blah, pick your daughter up after school tomorrow. Blah, blah, bah ... hey ... wait a second. The new pizza place is open? Really!?! Sorry, I've gotta go. I'm sure that I'll be able to write much better with a belly full of dough, cheese and sausage.

(Please hum the theme to Final Jeopardy softly to yourself for the next forty-five minutes to hour and ten minutes, or until I get back.)

Okay, I'm here again and ready to attack this column now that my gullet is full. I'd better get on this before the old ball and chain makes her way over to the table. Uh-oh ... too late! Here she comes! And here comes the daughter too!! And she has her homework with her!!! I'll bet Hemingway didn't have to deal with these kind of distractions!!!!

Have you ever tried to concentrate on something while two female members of the species are prattling on about whatever it is that they like to prattle? It's next to impossible. Plus I'm a little sleepy from the Italian beef sandwich that I had at the new pizza place. And now my wife made a face at me. I'm starting to think that divine intervention wants me to give this up and go watch Duck Dynasty.

I'm sure that as time goes by, I'll adapt and learn how to deal with my new environment and figure out how to write again. Then, maybe my muse will come back.

But probably not while my wife is sitting here. If you haven't heard, she's kind of ornery.

You can contact Wallace at You can follow him on his blog at


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"Nothing is not Something" on GO Comics.
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"Nothing is not Something" on Twitter. 

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