Conversations with My Muse: Reacting to Stress

Ummmm…can I come in?

Well, well, you’re back…


Do we even need to talk about where you’ve been these past few days?

Stop shouting…I’ve got a raging headache.


Please stop! I think my head’s going to explode here

Serves you right! What in the world happened this weekend?

I went a little off the deep end.

I heard that…you know the authorities are out looking for you?

Yes, the grapevine is all abuzz about what happened in Italy

Amazing what happens when the story shows up on the internet news wires, huh?

Guess so. Are you mad?

Hey — it’s not my fault you went on a bender. I’m not ultimately responsible for your behavior, ya know..

I know, I know…but — I had a great excuse–

This oughta be good…care to elaborate?

I was “stressed”…

Stressed? STRESSED?

Please, I’ve asked you not to shout…and yes, I was stressed.

What in the wide, wide world of writing could you be stressed about?

That speech…

What speech? I’m assuming you have assisted many people in writing speeches, right?

Yes, but THAT speech — you know, the one I did last week for the genocide witness.

Ohhhh–okay, go on

That one knocked me off my ancient flip flops. I thought the topic was going to be a little less heavy than it turned out to be…

Well, you knew going in it was going to be about “genocide”, didn’t you?

Yes, of course I knew that..based on the outline she had ready for me. I just didn’t expect it to become as gruesome as it did…

Gruesome? What exactly did you and she write about anyways?

Ohhhh, this and that..ya know, it’s not easy to talk about it — especially with a throbbing headache…got any aspirin? I tried chewing a willow tree branch, but that didn’t work.

I have ibuprofen, if that helps

I’ll try anything. Gawwd, I feel like crap!

No doubt. So, wanna talk about it?

About what?

The speech? Your bender? Why you felt it necessary to trash a hotel, sleep with an Italian soccer team, shout at the Pope….need I say more?

Oh myyyy…did I really do all those things?

Yes, and more..why — don’t you remember?

I don’t remember anything past the nachos and margaritas at the hotel’s bar.

Oh, that’s bad

Tell me about it…can I have that ibuprofen now?

Sure…here ya go, and make sure you chase those down with a big glass of water.

Uggggh, thanks.

Okay, so — the speech was horrifying, you got stressed out….took a much needed vacation. I get all that.


What I don’t get was the trouble you got into afterwards. Did you even stop to think about what you’ve done?

I told you, I don’t remember anything beyond Friday night…nada, zero, zip.

Wow, that’s bad. Do you need a reminder?

I dunno — do I need a reminder?

Well, there was a news report out there about you…I figure someone might be looking for you.

Oh nooo..

I would suggest you do two things: 1) lawyer up — you’re going to need a good one to help you weed through this mess you’ve made for yourself and 2) turn yourself in.

Lawyer up? What’s that?

Find a good public defense attorney who can argue your case for you — apparently you’re not in any position to defend yourself — I don’t care how good of a writer you think you are, there is no way you’re going to write yourself out of this one.

Ugggh, guess I have no choice. Okay, next?

Number 2: turn yourself in. Authorities appreciate not having to use their valuable time and resources tracking down criminals. If you turn yourself in, throw yourself at their mercy, then maybe you’ll have the more serious charges reduced down to some minor misdemeanors.

What does that mean for me?

Well, in some cases, the courts will sympathize and give you community service.

That’s not too bad, huh?

Well, it depends…it seems that happens with celebrities and rich people more than anyone else — of which you are neither.

Again with the “celebrities” — why do they get away with so much?

Ask them, I’m just a regular “jane”. I live in the midwest.

I suppose I could use my charm and try to get the charges whittled down, huh?

I’d try that. Anyone you know who could help you write a really emotional plea bargain? I suggest you hire them.

Good idea. As for community service, what would you consider a fair amount?

200 hours of community service…


Hey, you insulted the POPE and you have any idea how pissed off people are at you? Two thousand years of religious theology — and you had to go and denounce it? Then, insult the very  man who introduced more than 1,000 words into the English language? Wow, I’m amazed they aren’t calling for you to be burned at the stake like the heretics of old!

Again, not my fault…

I disagree — it IS your fault, but the motives behind your actions are somewhat plausible.

Haven’t you ever done anything under stress?

Sure, I have..I was just thinking about that today..

And what is that?

Well, I finally stopped a lifetime habit of biting my nails.


Yea, did it most of my life.

Any insight why?

I dunno. But strangely enough, ever since I started writing, I stopped biting my nails.


I sense you have a theory about this?

Of course.

Okay, shoot..

I think you had so much to say, and no “safe” place to say it, that you were all “bottled up” inside.

Now it’s my turn to say “hmmm”. Go on.

Well, once you started getting these thoughts down on paper, you relaxed a bit, and no longer feel that same level of compulsion to bite your nails.

Ah. Fascinating.

It actually is amazing, when we think about it. Our brains make us do things we aren’t consciously aware we are doing.

Have you been studying psychiatry now?

A little bit. I’m fascinated by how the brain works.

Me too, I especially am intrigued about the nature of “handedness” and how that plays in our development.

Are we going off topic here?

Just a bit. I am definitely more creative than I am analytical. That’s cuz I’m a leftie. Creativity occurs more in the right brain than the left…

Uhhh, my head’s beginning to pound again. Can we table this discussion for now?

Sure, besides, don’t you have something important to do?


Turn yourself in, face the authorities, etc..?

I suppose so…But, can I have a drink first?


Come on, how well do you know me?

Too well, which is why I’m shocked.

Oh, lighten up — I was only kidding.

Okay, okay — I’ll give you that one. And I’ll let you go. But you have to promise me something first?

What’s that?

Do the right thing. Always. And if you feel like you’re getting overstressed again, come to ME first, k?

Will do.



Later, chickie.


5 Responses to Conversations with My Muse: Reacting to Stress

  1. Bill Reed says:

    Are we really sure we know how old Don is? He could be a vampire. You read about the bats didn’t you?

  2. wordnerd45 says:

    Hey there Bill!!! I’m glad you’re enjoying my conversations. It’s been fun sharing them with others. Personally, I don’t feel my muse is repentant enough — she has seemed a bit too willing to pass the blame onto other things — something I’m not in complete agreement with. I feel we all need to be responsible for our own actions, regardless of the consequences.

    I think I might go to court and ask the jury to recommend some heavy community service time. Maybe washing the elderly? Think Don might enjoy this?

    The Nerd

  3. Bill Reed says:

    Hey Nerd,

    Just thought I would say hi. I always read your stuff, but can’t think of anything to say that seems to need to be said. I’m enjoyimg your Muse Saga and I’m glad that the prodigal muse is back, slinking in with her metaphorical tail between her legs!

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