Some of you know me as that weird gal who thinks her muse is a three-legged alligator named George. I live in
Florida part of the year and in upstate when the weather is good. This year that might mean two days in July and several hours the end of August. It’s understandable that George inspires me here among the palmetto. He’s grown to almost six feet and doesn’t seem impeded by the missing leg. When I’m up north on the several sunny minutes there, my muse is a ghost named Fred who inhabits my 1874 cottage. I have no idea where he goes to spend the winters, but I received a postcard from New York the other day. I guess he’s a kind of bi-coastal ghost/muse. San Diego
My point is that I count on George to be around to inspire me, so when he disappeared in December, I found my creative juices waning too. I tossed it off because I was busy doing the business side of an author’s life, you know, the part where you blog, edit, join internet groups for promotion, set up signings, contact libraries, book groups, and other organizations for appearances, the part that doesn’t require you to be literary beyond a press release, poster, business card, or book mark.
Coincidental with George’s absence, or so I thought, has been the appearance of the developers who have cleared the land across our canal. I like the jumble of weeds, trees, grasses, dead plants, and other organic stuff that is a part of the rural
landscape. Add a few cows, some horses, and a cowboy or two and you’ve got the perfect setting for murder, at least my kind of murder. Now it’s so sparkly clean over there that I’m thinking I should write romance. The herd of horses and cows that roamed that pasture has migrated to a more distant field where the vegetation is still a hodge podge of unidentifiable, but obviously yummy bovine and equine stuff. Suddenly I got it. George was gone. Life was changing here, becoming, heaven forbid, more upscale. They even started running upscale cows in the field, Black Angus rather than those mixed breed, floppy-eared, tough Florida cows. My inspiration to write old Florida was fading. Florida
Then the other evening, a small, three foot alligator appeared in the canal. A George baby, sent as a sign for me to begin writing again. Perhaps only a short story? As the youngster peered at me from his watery post, I spied movement farther down the canal. George, all six feet of him, and not happy about the kid invading his territory.
I haven’t seen either of them since, but I’m content to know somewhere nearby George waits for me to get busy again. And just in case I don’t, he’s got reinforcements he can send in. So I think I’ll name the little one Bailey.
I’ve dealt with that change in my life. Now, I can take my anger out on the changes they’ve made in the point-counting system from my diet program. I mean, four points for the worst bagel on earth? Who are they kidding? Sic ‘em, Bailey.
Lesley A. Diehl, author of Dumpster Dying, visit me at http://www.lesleydiehl.com/ and http://anotherdraught.blogspot.com/