Maybe it started with me teasing my daughter about joining me in a Zombie 5k next weekend. Feeling pretty good after improving my own time during a 3.1 mile run earlier in the morning, I’d begun Googling runs in Denver that I might try. My oldest daughter refuses to run with me because I take it too seriously, but I thought that my willingness to be chased and pummeled by zombies might prove to her that I do know how to have fun on the course. Not only did I open her mind to the possibility of joining me, apparently I also opened the portal for my Muse to spook me.
I know what every writer knows: manuscripts don’t just happen. And, yet, I was doing what every unpublished writer does: avoiding my manuscript, even with a deadline looming in 27 days. My assignment, should I choose to move forward, is to prepare the first ten pages of my Penny novel for a big time editor or agent to review prior to a writer’s conference. I don’t even have to finish the book at this point. All I must do is get those ten double-spaced, right-ragged-edged pages to come alive and then create a chapter synopsis of where I think the story is headed.
So instead, I ran a 5k at my top speed and then I tackled some way overdue spring cleaning. The Muse was there all along, taunting me to stop doing the most well-intentioned activities and get down to the business of the manuscript. I had plucked a 1973D penny out of a coin dish, sure that if I put it in my pocket, the Muse would be satisfied that I’d at least recognized the central theme of my novel (a 1973 Denver-minted penny).
Later this morning as I mopped my kitchen floor, I bent to retrieve a tarnished penny from under the counter. Another 1973, this one with no D. The Muse breathed down my neck. Enough. I needed to rest. After all, I’d done a 5k, teased my teenager, and scoured my house, and it wasn’t even lunchtime yet. I snuck by my zombie computer and plopped down in my big recliner, putting an icepack on my sore left hamstring and placing a cool glass of sweet tea within my reach. I scanned the satellite TV guide on the screen, finally deciding on a Jennifer Lopez romantic comedy that had just begun.
Not even ten minutes into the movie (proven on the photo with this post) and Lopez’s love interest tells her to pick up a penny in the crosswalk. She replies that she will if it’s face up and then stoops as the camera zooms on a penny’s tail side. She flips it over and tells the man that it will now be a lucky penny for someone else. As she walks away, the man bends to retrieve the heads-up penny. I stopped the movie and backed it up, watching the scene replay before stomping away to my computer. I have 100-plus channels to choose from, and I chose this one. What are the odds? Pretty good I’d say if one has a relentless Muse haunting them. Maybe I’ll ask it to run the Zombie 5k with me.